Family members and area residents say a young dog was fatally shot by police in front of a 6-year-old girl Friday afternoon in a Chicago suburb.
The dog’s owners say 1-year-old shepherd-mix Apollo had gotten out of their yard in the 8700 block of Beck Place in southwest suburban Hometown and the family had just returned him to their lawn when police arrived.
“We were in the lawn and the cop already had his gun out,” said owner Nicole Echlin. “I tried to call him in the house and he just stood there staring and I guess he showed his teeth and the cop just shot him, right in front of me and my 6-year-old daughter.”
Echlin said her young daughter “started screaming” after the shooting.
Hometown Police said the incident is under investigation but could not immediately confirm any details. They said further information would be available Monday.
"It would be too early for me to make any statement without reviewing all the facts," Chief Charles Forsyth said in a statement on the Hometown Police Department's Facebook page. "I can assure the people of Hometown that a full investigation of the incident will be conducted."
Witnesses said it didn’t appear that the dog was attacking officers or provoking them before the shooting.
“The dog wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t see it doing anything, it wasn’t barking,” said witness and area resident Nicco Torres. “Then I saw a cop shoot the dog, the dog fell to ground on the lawn. I saw through the window the dog was on the floor shot but the dog was still moving, it was moving its legs like it was trying to run but it was laying down.”
Family said the dog had no history of aggression and did not attempt to attack officers at the scene. They claim they were told by officers that the dog showed its teeth.
“I don’t know why they would pull out a gun they had so many other options,” said Echlin's 23-year-old sister and fellow owner Kristy Scialabba, who works at an animal care center in Chicago. “And to shoot a dog in front of a child that’s going to scare her for the rest of her life.”
Scialabba, who set up a Facebook page titled “Justice for Apollo,” said Apollo was taken by Animal Control to an animal hospital for treatment, but died Saturday morning.
“We’re just completely broken and we really don’t know what to do,” she said. “That was my boy, that was my dog. This is hometown you don’t hear anything like this. Nothing ever happens here.”