AUSTIN (KXAN) - The officer who shot and killed a blue heeler during a domestic disturbance call in April did not violate any Austin Police Department guidelines, officials said Tuesday.
But the department has put in place some new policies to minimize the chance of another such incident. Among them are a new two-hour course for cadets to help them better assess situations involving dogs and requiring dispatchers to notify officers of potential hazards.
The department was bombarded with angry phone calls two months ago when Officer Thomas Griffin was sent to the wrong address for a disturbance call. Griffin shot a dog named Cisco after the animal charged at him, according to the officer.
The dog had been playing with its owner, Michael Paxton, in the backyard before the officer had arrived.
"I never got an explanation why this mistake was made," Paxton said at the time.
Paxton said he and Cisco were playing in his backyard at 2613 E. Fifth St. on April 14, a Saturday afternoon. The dog had apparently come to the front yard, following Paxton out front to his truck, when the officer was investigating the disturbance called in from a neighboring home.
Hearing the commotion, Cisco ran to where Paxton and the officer were standing and began barking at the officer.
Video from the patrol car caught the verbal exchange between Paxton and Griffin which took place entirely on Paxton's property. The officer can be heard yelling "Get your hands up" and "Get your dog" just seconds before a gunshot rings out. Paxton then pleads with the officer and asks why his dog was shot.
Chief Art Acevedo apologized to Paxton on a morning radio show a few days later.
At the time, officials said that the policy for dealing with dangerous animals and the training would be examined.
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