An NYPD officer fatally shot a family dog as it wagged its tail in the hallway of a Bronx Apartment building, an incident caught in the gruesome video below, posted to youtube by the family’s attorneys.
The video shows officer Ruben Cuesta of the NYPD’s 46th Precinct knock on the door, back up as the dog emerges, back down the stairs as the dog approaches him, wagging its tail, and then fatally shoot the dog once in the head. Officer Cuesta did not appear to be in imminent danger at any time.
In the heart wrenching video, the dog, named Spike, convulses on the floor as three women from the family emerge from the apartment, panicked that their dog has been shot and enraged with the officer who shot him.
The officer simply stands at the bottom of the stairs, watching the crushed family attempt to comfort their dying dog. Spike’s owner, Yvonne Rosado, said Cuesta was “cold and callous…He treated my dog as if he was old furniture being thrown away.”
This 30-second clip from the below video shows Spike emerge, clearly wagging his tail, and then Cuesta fatally shooting him.
As the Daily News points out, NYPD policy states that cops can shoot at animals “only to defend themselves or others from threat of physical injury, or death.” They are only allowed to use their weapons “as a last resort to stop an animal attack.” As the law firm representing Rosado points out, Cuesta had his gun drawn before the dog even emerged from the apartment.
The officer has his gun out before Spike is even outside of the apartment….
— S&T LAW (@wylielawfirm) March 24, 2016
The NYPD recently announced it would upgrade to more potent pepper-spray specifically because it would be more effective against dogs. They would not comment if these officers were carrying the new pepper-spray.
Rosada was dancing with Spike at the time the police arrived, something she said she does daily. The NYPD says the officers were dispatched to the building because a neighbor called because a former boyfriend, against whom she had a restraining order, was in the building. However, the Daily News reports that the subject of the call was long gone by the time the officers arrived.
It is unclear why the officers knocked on Rosado’s door.
Rosado has filed a lawsuit against the City and the NYPD with the Law Firm of Stecklow & Thompson. In the full video posted by the firm below, you can see that when one of the dog’s owners approaches the officer, she is knocked to the ground and restrained.
The family also asked for cremation costs from the city, but had to foot the bill themselves.