A Hollywood family wanted answers and help paying for veterinarian bills Thursday after an officer shot their pit bull mix dog, but police said the dog continues to be aggressive to the treating vet.
The dog was wounded around 2:30 a.m. Saturday when officers responded to a shooting that occurred in an alley near the 5800 block of Willoughby Street and left three men injured, according to Los Angeles police Officer Norma Eisenman.
"Officers were clearing a residence when a large dog charged at them and an officer-involved shooting occurred,'' Eisenman said.
The pit bull mix, named Kush, will require medical care topping $1,000, which his owners cannot afford, officials with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles said.
According to an LAPD statement, the dog charged one of the officers conducting the search and the officer fired a single shot at the animal, which then ran into an adjoining room, "only to return moments later'' and attempt to bite the officer.
"The dog stopped and ran to the bathroom where it was secured pending the arrival of (Animal Control),'' police said.
The dog was taken to a city shelter to be treated by a veterinarian, who "commented that treating (the) dog has been difficult as he is showing signs of aggression to caregivers,'' according to the LAPD.
Brett Kerby and Norma Lopez, who live at the home and own the dog, said that officers had detained them in a patrol car then went into the house. They said their 7-year-old daughter was in the home along with her grandmother and a family friend.
Officers who went into the home refused an offer by the family friend to remove the dog, and they shot Kush a short time later, the couple told NBC4. They said everyone was then taken out of the home, but the bleeding dog was left inside unattended until an animal-control officer arrived around 7 a.m. and took Kush to a shelter.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles officials contend the LAPD should pay for the dog's care, not force the family to cover the costs and seek reimbursement.
"I believe this demonstrates seizure of property and the agency (LAPD) should be responsible for treatment,'' spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein said.
"Forcing the owner to pay for vet care and submit a claim is unfair,'' Bernstein said. "When an officer shoots a family dog, it is traumatic for everyone -- the officer, the dog, the family, and the community -- let's help them all heal by providing for Kush's care.''
The family has set up a GoFundMe page, saying they will need at least $5,000 to cover the dog's medical care.
"Our Force Investigation Division detectives are still interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence as this investigation continues,'' according to the LAPD.
If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up to help Kush and the family, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 7.9 percent of all funds raised in the form of platform and payment processing charges.