Detroit – A cop shot a cattle dog mix in the face because he said the dog growled and jumped at him. In cop-speak that probably means it was sound asleep and twitching in a characteristic dog dream. Alison Lewis is a local musician whose dog, Millie, often is on the stage with her while she performs. She was at the old Tiger Stadium to do a gig with Millie by her side.
She and two friends had to gone to a local field to let their dogs run. Lewis used to live in the neighborhood and took Millie to the field three or four times a week. Several people had been playing a baseball game and were just loading up their equipment as Lewis and her friends got there. A cop saw the cars parked and decided to check it out. The dogs were off leash. Detroit city code says in dogs in public places must be on leash.
According to Lewis, her friend was able to leash the other dog, but as she picked up her leash Millie “galloped” toward the cops. One immediately yanked out his gun and shot Millie in the face. Lewis tried to tell them Millie was friendly but they didn’t pay any attention to her.
“He went for his gun. It was about as long as I had to say, ‘What are you doing? Please don’t do that. She’s not going to hurt you,'” Lewis said in an interview on Tuesday. “It was: Hand on gun. It was out. Boom.”
Millie ran away, so at first Lewis thought the cop had fired into the ground. When she reached the dog she was pouring blood so she rushed her to a vet. Millie went into surgery immediately and is now recovering but is having trouble breathing.
“He shot her in the face. It went through her front lip on her right side, entered there and lodged in her jaw on the other side,” Lewis said. “It tore out the whole top palate of her mouth, a bunch of teeth.”
Detroit police spokesliar June West, erroneously referring to Millie as a pit bull, describe Millie as more threatening. She claimed “the pit bull came at them growling and jumping at the officer. He drew his weapon.”
“When a dog is charging and growling, it poses a threat,” West added. “Dogs can be very dangerous.” Apparently she doesn’t know that no cop has been killed by a dog for over fifty years. She also claimed to not know what other less lethal means to divert a dog “attack” the cops were carrying.
Lewis will be filing a complaint. She is worried about how a cop who is so quick to kill might react in other situations. “It’s not just what happened to my dog. The way I see it, were in a public space in the daylight,” Lewis said. “This is how we are handling it? It’s like a concern for the community. It’s completely out of control.” Millie has no history of ever attacking or biting people.
“Someone who is that afraid in that situation should not have the power of a gun,” she said. “I want this guy — at least his gun taken away.”
Bill Goodman, her lawyer, thought that Detroit police didn’t shoot dogs in such situations and that during house raids they “pacify” dogs. He claimed that the cops showed a lack of training, supervision and discipline. That part he has absolutely right. Goodman plans to file a civil suit against the city. “The willingness and readiness to resort to deadly force is not only regrettable, it’s dangerous,” he said.
According to the Detroit Free Press,
“Lewis plays around the Detroit area with the band String of Ponies, whose 2011 album, “Hurricane Millie,” is named after the dog and features her on the album cover art. The Detroit Metro Times named Millie “Best Onstage Dog” in its best of Detroit awards last year. “When Lewis gets up, Millie will either howl along or she’ll get onstage herself and lie down. There’s something incredibly cool about something that relaxed.”
This is clearly not a case of a dangerous dog. Aggressive dogs simply don’t get named “Best Onstage Dog”. Obviously Millie was used to being around multiple strangers in loud, and possibly chaotic situations. It is clearly a case of a dangerous, cowardly cop, someone whose first instinct is to kill.