- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2014

Witnesses in a Chicago suburb say a police officer shot and killed a young dog in front of its 6-year-old owner Friday afternoon.

The dog’s owners say 1-year-old shepherd-mix Apollo had escaped their yard in Hometown. They found the dog and brought it back to their home when police arrived, a local NBC affiliate reported.

“We were in the lawn and the cop already had his gun out,” owner Nicole Echlin told the station. “I tried to call [Apollo] in the house and he just stood there staring and I guess he showed his teeth and the cop just shot him, right in front of me and my 6-year-old daughter.”

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Miss Echlin said her daughter screamed and started crying as she watched her dog seize on the ground.

“The dog wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t see it doing anything, it wasn’t barking,” witness Nicco Torres told the station. “Then I saw a cop shoot the dog, the dog fell to ground on the lawn. I saw through the window the dog was on the floor shot but the dog was still moving, it was moving its legs like it was trying to run but it was laying down.”

The dog’s owners said they were told by officers that the dog showed its teeth.

“I don’t know why they would pull out a gun they had so many other options,” said Miss Echlin’s sister and fellow owner Kristy Scialabba. “And to shoot a dog in front of a child that’s going to scare her for the rest of her life.”

Miss Scialabba set up a Facebook page titled “Justice for Apollo,” which has already gained more than 7,000 likes.

Hometown Police Chief Charles Forsyth said in a statement Monday afternoon that although the officer, identified as Robert Norris, may have been justified under Illinois law to shoot the dog, he has decided to terminate the officer’s employment with the police department.

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