AUSTIN (KXAN) - Chief Art Acevedo expressed sympathy about a highly talked-about case involving an Austin police officer who shot and killed a man's dog while responding to the incorrect address.
Speaking with Cisco's owner Michael Paxton on KLBJ-FM's "Dudley and Bob Morning Show," Acevedo apologized about the incident and also commented on police procedure.
"Believe it or not, we are animal lovers just like any one else," said Acevedo. "I want to say I am sorry on behalf of all the members of the department.
"Last night, I saw you on TV and my heart went out to you," he added. "It is bumming me out. I am a pet person and most of us are."
The "Justice for Cisco" Facebook page had received more than 40,225 "likes" as of noon Tuesday.
Acevedo said the shooting would be reviewed and told Paxton that nothing would change the sorrow.
According to written police policy, Austin officers who believe animal poses an imminent threat to themselves or others have the discretion to use deadly force to minimize that, according to a Police Department policy statement.
The statement also encourages officers whenever possible to develop contingency plans to neutralize animals without shooting to kill. The options in those cases include use of a Taser, pepper spray or even fire extinguishers to stop an aggressive animal.
The police also says that "where possible," an officer should give warning before firing on an animal.
However, the policy does not expressly require officers to forego shooting to kill, nor does it require that a warning be given.
"Nothing in this policy shall prohibit any officer from resorting to deadly force to control a dangerous animal if circumstances reasonably dictate that a contingency plan has failed or becomes impracticable," the policy says.
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