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Lorain Police Department (LPD), LPD Office of Professional Standards: Fax: (440) 204-2519 AND [email protected]

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PETITION TARGETS: Lorain Police Department (LPD), LPD Office of Professional Standards

UPDATE (9/11/2023): The Lorain Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards has exonerated the officer for shooting Dixie to death, concluding that the officer’s use of force was “reasonable” given state law that allows officers to kill “at large” — i.e. loose — dogs who approach “in a menacing fashion.” The officer is facing possible disciplinary action, however, over body camera violations and initiating the situation when non-engagement would have been a better approach, according to the OPS report. Dixie’s owners also are facing possible charges for alleged excessive and negligent pet ownership. We’ll keep watching this case. —Lady Freethinker Staff

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Dixie, a reportedly gentle Labrador-retriever mix with no history of biting or aggression, was shot to death in front of her human family and neighborhood children after approaching a cop outside of her home in Lorain, Ohio, according to news reports.

Dixie and three other dogs reportedly had gotten loose after being spooked by fireworks set off in the street, and their owner told news she was trying to leash them and take them back inside when the officer arrived.

Body camera footage released by the Lorain Police Department shows one dog with a wagging tail approaching the officer and then retreating after being shooed away. A second dog — Dixie — then approaches the officer, who raises his firearm and shoots her. Dixie falls over in the street and lays with her legs up for a few seconds, according to the footage.

Dixie reportedly was then shot three more times, as alleged to news. Dixie’s owner also has alleged to news that officers reportedly refused to allow her to touch Dixie or obtain needed veterinary care immediately following the shooting.

Dixie has since died. 

Labradors and golden retrievers are widely recognized as some of the most gentle breeds kept as companion animals, and another officer reportedly had responded to this home before without incident. While these dogs were temporarily loose, they clearly did not pose any immediate, life-threatening danger.

The fatal use of a firearm in this specific situation — especially as a seeming first resort after hardly any verbal de-escalation, and especially in a public setting where numerous civilians were present — was entirely unwarranted and excessive.

Every single aspect of this tragedy — from the dispatch of this specific officer to the report of loose dogs, to the seemingly almost immediate and fatal discharge of a firearm, to the delay of possibly life-saving veterinary care for Dixie — all must be thoroughly investigated and changes made so that preventable deaths like these never happen again.

Sign our petition urging justice for Dixie, including an immediate termination from the police department of the officer responsible for shooting her to death as well as pursuit of criminal animal cruelty charges. We’re also asking for a comprehensive review of the department’s policies and required training for officers responding to animal-related complaints and any needed revisions to use of force protocols that clearly list and prioritize non-lethal interventions for nonhuman animals.