On August 16, 2012 in the east village of Manhattan, man’s best friend gave the ultimate sacrifice—being willing to die in an effort to protect his owner. What for do you ask? Maybe in a valiant effort save his owner from a burning building? If only. Unfortunately, the pit bull mix named Star was shot by a police officer on 14th St., while protecting his owner who was having a seizure.
A witness who was visiting a doctor’s office nearby alerted police officers that the owner of the dog was in danger of being hit by traffic. He was lying in the middle of the road, twitching and shaking. Now here’s the rub. The police get too close, the dog, in an effort to protect his owner, lunges at the police. The police officer shoots Star at nearly point blank range, he says, in an effort to provide medical assistant to the owner having a seizure. What’s missing here? The police officer that shot Star discharged his mace on Star after shooting him. According to theblaze, “In a split second, the officer pulls his gun and fires a single shot that sends the dog writhing in pain. The dog eventually stops moving as a pool of blood is visible.”
Was this a human being, there’s no question that this would have been a public outrage. Unfortunately, partly because pit bulls are so misunderstood, and partly because an animal’s legal status is property, the story of Star has been kept relatively quiet. It would be bad for the police if the public watched a video of a police officer shooting a animal when there were other options available. Why didn’t the officer mace Star instead of putting a bullet in him? The Gothamist interviewed the witness who said, “The dog was protecting the owner, that’s what it does.” Admittedly, the police officer has a legal duty to serve and protect civilians, but he also has a moral duty to protect all life whenever possible. It’s safe to safe the police officer has failed miserably at that. Though Star seemed lifeless at the scene of this brutal act, according to The Gothamist on August 25th, Star is recovering well in a local animal hospital with hopes of being put up for adoption. This dog deserves a medal, and this police officer deserves to be fired.