“Spike died wagging his tail,” said witness Irma Sue Santiago.
Spike was a pit bull who was guilty of nothing more than being a dog when NYPD Officer Ruben Cuesta encountered him in the hallway and decided to draw his gun and fire, leaving Spike dead on the ground.
Cuesta was on a domestic violence call to a neighboring apartment, and it remains unclear why he shot and killed the dog.
“He was like a big Snuffleupagus — a gentle giant,” owner Yvonne Rosado told the Daily News. “He was a member of the family … He would wag his tail, letting everyone know he was friendly.”
“I was screaming, ‘He’s friendly! He’s friendly!’ But he still did that to my dog,” she said.
Yes, the dog was barking when the cops arrived, and he slipped out of the apartment and into the hallway. But Spike was a good 3 feet away from Cuesta when the officer shot him.
And as the surveillance video below clearly shows, Spike was wagging his tail the entire time.
An investigation is underway, and the Daily News reports that Officer Cuesta will need to answer for his actions.
“In this instance he used the firearm, so now, as part of the investigation, he’ll have to justify what was going through his mind at that particular time,” said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
But all too often, police officers who shoot dogs never face repercussions. Animal training should clearly be a priority for law enforcement, considering that an estimated 37% to 47% of American households include a dog. Only time will tell if Spike gets the justice he deserves.