- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) - The owner of a dog shot and killed by a northern Idaho police officer says the dog isn’t a “vicious pit bull” as described by police but instead a 2-year-old black Labrador named Arfee.

Craig Jones of Colorado said he hired an attorney on Thursday for a potential lawsuit.

According to the Coeur d’Alene police, an officer responded on Wednesday to a report of a suspicious van in the downtown area and shot the dog with one round in the chest when it lunged from the driver’s side window. The officer wasn’t injured.

Jones said he had parked behind a coffee shop so Arfee would have shade and left the window halfway down.

“I didn’t even know if he was still alive. They took him (Arfee) and left me a note, a card, on my windshield. No police officer in sight,” Jones told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “This guy just wounded me so deeply. This will never go away. This was my best friend.”

Jones, who is from Coeur d’Alene but now lives in Colorado, said he was in town because of the recent death of his mother.

Arfee, Jones added, went with him everywhere and his dog’s company was helping him mourn the loss of his mother.

“There’s no way I can just return to Colorado without my dog,” Jones said. “I was planning on moving back up here actually and was just going to go back to get my stuff. But something like this is such a catastrophic thing in my life that I don’t know where I can go to escape it. There’s going to be a cloud over my head for a long time.”

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Ron Clark said animal control officers originally identified Arfee as a pit bull but a veterinarian labeled the dog a lab mix.

Because the police department has received threatening voicemails and emails, the name of the officer who shot Arfee is not being released, Clark said in a news release. The officer has not, however, been placed on administrative leave.

“We understand the grief the family is dealing with due to the loss of their pet. We also understand the distress this has caused for citizens,” Clark said in a statement. “The officer who shot the dog is also distraught over this incident.”

Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer said the city would conduct a review of the shooting and release the findings to the public.

This is the second officer-dog shooting incident that has resulted in a possible lawsuit in Idaho this year.

In February, a southern Idaho officer shot and killed a seven-year-old Labrador retriever named Hooch after responding to a call that dogs were running loose. After footage of the officer shooting the dog was released, hundreds demanded that the city’s mayor be recalled and the officer be fired.

The dog’s owner has filed a notice to sue the city, its police force and the officer. The notice seeks $150,000 in damages plus court costs.


Information from: Coeur d’Alene Press, https://www.cdapress.com

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