Cops shoot dog in front of six-year-old after raiding wrong home in search of man with expired vehicle registration

Wednesday, July 03, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: police officers, family dog, fatal shooting

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(NaturalNews) No site is more supportive of our law enforcement personnel than NaturalNews. Those of us here understand how difficult a job it is to be a police officer, especially in the more traditionally violent parts of the country - though cops are literally in danger every time they step out onto the streets.

But at the same time we also hold police to a higher standard, just because of the important nature of their job - upholding the law while serving and protecting the public. So we also won't hesitate to call officers out when their behavior warrants it.

Take the case of officers in Leander, Texas, which is located about 27 miles north of Austin, who shot and wounded a family's pet German Shepherd. Cops say the dog was growling and aggressively coming at them; the family denies this, saying the dog never behaved that way.

While each side's version of events is in dispute, what is not in dispute is a) the cops were not at the correct address; and b) the suspect they were looking for had never lived there.

'This dog wasn't after him'

According to local ABC affiliate WFAA, cops showed up at a local address June 17 to serve a warrant for Bradly Neal Simpson, who was wanted for the heinous crime of having an expired vehicle registration.

The next thing you know, one of the officers pulled out his service weapon and shot Vinnie, the family dog, which he claimed was charging at him along with another German Shepherd.

"He said they were growling, and closing distance very quickly," Lt. Derral Partin, a spokesperson for Leander Police, told the local news.

But Vinny's owners - Chris and Renata Simmons - say that isn't what happened.

"This dog wasn't after him. This dog was just running up going 'hey what are you doing?' and they have a right to do that. This is my yard; this man should not have even been there. He could have killed my husband's best friend," Renata Simmons said.

In addition, the Simmons said they never heard of Simpson.


The address on the warrant is in Cedar Park, not Liberty Hill where the Simmons have lived for nine years. However, Leander Police say their database shows Simpson's last known address as the same one where the Simmons live.

"I've never heard of him," said Simmons.

Reports said that the officer first entered the Simmons' property through the front gate, where they proceeded to the front door and knocked. Apparently unsuccessful, the officer then began walking around the back of the house.

The officer said at that time that a pair of German Shepherds started running at him; he says he fired three shots, and one struck Vinnie in the back of the neck.

But the dogs were the only ones in the area. Per WFAA:

The Simmons say not only was it a close call for their dog, Vinny, but it was also a close call for their six-year old terminally ill grandchild playing just around the corner.

"I was in my house, my grandchild was at the back picnic table, my husband was in the kitchen getting a snack and my dogs do what they do; run in and out."

Leander police officials say the officer did not see the child, but that it is department policy to use lethal force on any animal they believe may be attacking an officer.

"We're trained to fire until the threat is stopped," said Partin.

'We don't come to work wanting to kill someone's dog'

What makes the story even more incredible is that Renata Simmons is a professional dog trainer - which means she ought to know dog behavior. Furthermore, she says because of her business, people are coming and going into their backyard all the time; Vinnie, she said, is used to seeing unfamiliar folks and has never acted aggressively against anyone.

"The dogs always do the same thing, they're like 'hey somebody's here' and they go running up to the gate like 'hey pet me.' Well they didn't get pet this time, they got shot," she said.

Leander police officials say what happened was "an unfortunate accident" (as though any such accidents are fortunate).

"No officer wakes up and gets dressed and goes to work and wants to kill someone's dog," Partin said, stating the obvious. But officers do get up expecting to be at the correct home when they plan to arrest someone.

Local reports said the officer who shot the dog remains on active duty, but that the case is currently under review.

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