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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Berkeley Cop Kills Man's Pup

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM

click to enlarge Rock
  • Rock

A Berkeley man is heartbroken after police shot and killed his one-year-old pit bull, Rock -- also called Big Baby -- Saturday morning.

Shay Ben Yishay told SF Weekly this morning that he and some friends shot about 20 rounds from air pistols in his backyard before going back to work inside his home, located at 3204 Shattuck Avenue.

About 40 minutes later, Yishay saw four police officers pointing loaded M16 rifles at his window. He immediately put his hands up. The officers ordered the three men outside, one-by-one, and put them into handcuffs.

But before Yishay would leave the house, he asked officers if he could leash up Rock, who he says was trained and well-mannered.

click to enlarge Sleeping baby
  • Sleeping baby

Yishay said the officers refused to let him put the dog on a leash, despite his repeated requests. They told him that the dog wouldn't get hurt.

During the incident, the pup came outside the house and was growling at officers, who claim Rock would not listen to verbal commands. The dog started running about the officers and then crouched and started to leap at one of them, according to a statement released today by the Berkeley Police Department.

Yishay, who was outside the gated yard, said he heard a loud "boom." He knew little Rock had been shot.

He started screaming.

"This officer felt the dog posed an immediate threat to his safety so he fired one round from his pistol at the dog and it died instantly," Sergeant Mary Kusmiss said in a statement. "Due to the speed at which these events happened, the officers had no other viable option."

As Yishay stood there in shock, the cops quickly cleaned up the scene.

"They cleaned it up like nothing happened -- they just put my dog in a garbage bag," Yishay said. "When they brought the dog out, the bagged ripped open and my dog fell. I saw him bleeding in the middle of the street."

Animal Control Services picked up the dog and "threw him" in the back of the truck, according to Yishay and his friends.

Officers would not allow Yishay or anyone else to go inside the home; they were still looking for a gun and they had not yet determined whether there was an armed person inside, Kusmiss said. They did a quick sweep and found a black pistol that resembled a semi-automatic weapon.

But Yishay claims he and his friends had already admitted to police they had been shooting air pistols, which they assumed was legal in their backyard. Yishay, who was charged with a misdemeanor, said he is trying to decide whether to sue the police department for brutality against his puppy.

"I don't know -- I just don't see my dog coming back," Yishay said. "I just don't know what to say."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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