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don't lose your dog in Ottawa, police shoot two dogs

April 20th, 2009, 08:37 AM
I don't know...there has to be more behind this..

Ottawa police officers shot and killed two dogs in Manotick Station Sunday afternoon after police allege the dogs charged at them.

Police responded to a report of two large dogs loose in the area of Manotick Station Road and Mitch Owens Road around 12:50 p.m., they said, adding that people in the area were concerned with the dogs’ “aggressive behaviour.”

The dogs were later identified by a friend of the owners as a three-year-old German short-haired pointer named Azurro, and a two-year-old husky named Mika.

The dogs’ owners, Elena Zappia and Joe Priori, had been walking Azurro and Mika off-leash behind the Emerald Links golf course in a vacant wooded area owned by Zappia’s father when the dogs spotted a deer and began to chase after it, said Tara Hammond, 26, a longtime friend and neighbour of Zappia.

Hammond said Zappia, 23, and Priori, 29, went back to get their car to search for the dogs, and Zappia’s father headed out on his four-wheeler.

Henry Bakker, owner of Bakkers General Store on Mitch Owens Drive near where the dogs were shot, said he was one of the people who called police.

Bakker said he saw the dogs running loose in the area, and at one point the German short-haired pointer approached him aggressively.

“I stood still and he went away,” Bakker said. “Then I walked back towards the store and he came at me again.”

That’s when Bakker called police, but he said he didn’t witness the actual shooting.

He said the husky never seemed to be acting aggressively.

Police said they called the city’s animal control bylaw officers to attend, but before they arrived, police officers found the dogs running in a field near the intersection. When they approached the dogs, police allege that the German short-haired pointer tried to attack and bite one of the officers. The officer’s partner shot the dog and both animals fled into a field and wooded area.

A short time later, police said they saw the dogs running across the field again. This time, as officers approached, police said both dogs charged and were shot dead. Neither officer was injured in either incident, and police said the dogs did not successfully bite anyone.

Zappia and Priori were too distraught to speak to a reporter Sunday night, Hammond said, but speaking on their behalf, she questioned the truthfulness of the police officers’ explanation — particularly with regards to Mika’s alleged aggressiveness — and wondered why they could not have acted more compassionately. She said neither dog had ever attacked another person or dog before.

Hammond said Zappia was especially upset because she came upon the scene just as police shot Azurro a second time.

“She saw him lift his head up before the officer shot him again.”

Hammond said the dogs’ bodies were 50 feet away from each other when Zappia and Priori came upon the scene, and that Mika’s body looked as if it was running away from the officers.

She said Zappia and Priori are going to follow up with police for a full report before deciding if they will take any action. Police said there will not likely be any charges against the owners.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

April 20th, 2009, 08:44 AM
Disgusting! This is absolutely ridiculous.:mad::cry:

April 20th, 2009, 09:17 AM
to me, officers should have waited for animal control to show up, can they not use pepper spray on dogs? My neighbours would never call police if brina were loose, they'd go try to get her and call me immediately, why did the neighbour call police and not spca? animal control? I think the owners should also be fined for allowing the dogs to run loose when its not legal, what got me was "chasing deer", the does are carrying right now or have just given birth....again, its illegal to allow your dogs to chase deer this time of year...I so feel for the owners but geeesh, responsible, its one thing "getting" loose, or breaking free, but these were already off leash..its a terrible terrible thing to have happen!!! both parties are so in the wrong in my opinion.

ok, end of rant:sorry:

April 20th, 2009, 09:42 AM
to me, officers should have waited for animal control to show up, can they not use pepper spray on dogs? My neighbours would never call police if brina were loose, they'd go try to get her and call me immediately, why did the neighbour call police and not spca? animal control? I think the owners should also be fined for allowing the dogs to run loose when its not legal, what got me was "chasing deer", the does are carrying right now or have just given birth....again, its illegal to allow your dogs to chase deer this time of year...I so feel for the owners but geeesh, responsible, its one thing "getting" loose, or breaking free, but these were already off leash..its a terrible terrible thing to have happen!!! both parties are so in the wrong in my opinion.

ok, end of rant:sorry:

I agree with you Melinda. Trigger happy youngsters I bet. Cops nowadays are really something else. Cocky!

April 20th, 2009, 10:59 AM
This is just horrible. I cannot imagine arriving just in time to see my beloved dog lift his head before getting shot, again. My heart is with the owners of these dogs. How devastating.

April 20th, 2009, 11:13 AM
These poor owner and poor dogs!!!! Just goes to show you how trigger happy and how much the dog bans play on peoples minds. 20 years ago those dogs would never have been shot

April 20th, 2009, 01:01 PM
This is TERRIBLE!!!!!!! I am sorry but I think that the police are completely in the wrong here! There are loose dogs all the time, yes that is bad, but to shoot them? I don't think so!! I HIGHLY doubt BOTH dogs CHARGED aggressively at the cops, a pointer and a husky, that the owners felt comfortable having off leash ( remember they did not escape, the owners obviously feel comfortable with having these dogs loose ) then suddenly both dogs snap and act insane trying to kill humans for no reason?? Sorry don't believe it! The police should pay for this crime the same as any other human. They should not be so quick to pull out their gun I hope they are reprimanded for this!

April 20th, 2009, 04:24 PM
How very sad,I could not imagine how I would feel seeing my dog get shot,all I can say,those police-officers better not have been close to me:evil:
They seem to be using Tasers freely,so why not just stun the dog or use pepper-spray,as was said before.
Too late now those poor pups are dead:sad:

April 20th, 2009, 04:38 PM
They really should have got ahold of AC and leave the situation to them. Poor dogs, once again, suffering as a result of irresponsible pet owners.

April 20th, 2009, 04:40 PM
I would like to know the whole story behind this. I don't think we should jump to conclusions that the police were trigger happy. We don't know the dogs or how the dogs were acting if they were terrified. If there were homes, school or playground around that the police felt children or adults may have been hurt by the dogs (remember the police don't know these dogs or their temperment) then they have to do what is in the best interest of human safety. If by chance one of the dogs did go after a child and police were standing around watching the dogs run waiting for animal control, then we would be wondering why they didn't do anything to protect the child.

I would also like to know if these dogs do not have good recall, why their owners allowed them off leash in the first place. We all know that huskies tend to have a high prey drive.

I only wish the owner had gotten to the police before they were shot :sad:, he may have been able to get them leashed.

:rip: Azurro and Mika :candle:

April 20th, 2009, 05:14 PM
exactly what I think love4himies, there has to be more to the story, if Brina or any of my pets past or present went missing, I'd be out searching for them including phoning the police to report it so they could keep an eye out for me, expressing to them the dogs are nervous, or friendly, whatever the case, I ended up quiting a job when my husky went missing many years ago, I'd taken the day off to search, then the second day and they didn't like I quit and yes we did find him. I expect more of the story will be in tomorrow's paper and I will post it if there is.

April 20th, 2009, 05:45 PM
This was in a wide open field - in the middle of nowhere. There is a small residential houseing area, a golf couse and thats it - no schools in the area.. I am so disapointed the police used such deadly force. Funny- No police where actually hurt... yet they decided to shoot one dog as it was running away (as per witnesses) and the other was shot once.. then the police walked up and shot it a second time as the owner watched... One word - DISGUSTING... no matter what the circumstances - They should of waited for Bylaw services as they are equiped to deal with this and why the residents called the police and not Bylaw is beyond me...

On another note- Greely and Manotick residents were in an uproar over plans to shoot coyotes that are rampant in the area and held many a meetings to encourage live trapping and relocation - yet police shoot 2 family pets that were misguided and likely terrified... Im sorry theres no justifying what happened when so many other options (Bylaw/Mace/Pepper Spray) were available..

April 20th, 2009, 08:58 PM
That is disgusting and shooting the second time right in front of the owner.even the police have no compassion for a life.

April 20th, 2009, 11:28 PM
I live in the area, just a few doors away. While agree dogs should not be loose, and I never let mine loose, this is a semi-rural area. It is 4 streets that are in and around a golf-course, and everything else around it is open field and farmland.

When I read the story I was stunned... absolutely stunned. I never came across the husky, but the pointer was a sweet-heart. I have a really hard time believing he was aggressive. Whenever I walk my dog by their house he would always come and play with my dog, although more often than not he found my dog a bit too playful for him and he would run away. I just don't understand how he could have been considered to be aggressive unless he completely snapped.

It sent shivers up my spine when I read the article.

April 21st, 2009, 05:54 AM
todays story, as Melanie1010 said to me this morning...."for the sake of your blood boiling, don't read the comments"....and she was

OTTAWA-A Manotick resident whose two dogs were shot dead Sunday after an alleged attack on a police officer says she wishes police handled the situation differently.

Elena Zappia, 23, fought back tears Monday as she explained what happened to her dogs — a three-year-old German shorthaired pointer named Azurro and a two-year-old husky named Mika.

The dogs had run after some deer and away from Zappia and her fiancé, Joe Priori, 29, while they were out for a walk in a vacant wooded lot behind the Emerald Links golf course that her father owns.

While Zappia was gone to get her car to search for them, locals spotted the dogs running loose and called police.

Two Ottawa officers responded, located the dogs and shot the shorthaired pointer after it allegedly tried to attack and bite one of the officers.

Both dogs then fled into a wooded area and police found them a short time later at Manotick Station and Mitch Owens Road, where police say they charged at two officers.

Zappia says she arrived just as Azurro was shot for the second time.

“The police officer turned around and said, ‘I’m sorry you had to see that,’ ” she said. “And then I noticed the other one was already dead.”

The dogs would usually come and wake Zappia up in the morning, and she is struggling to deal with their loss and disruption of her routine.

She said she wishes police had waited for city bylaw officers to arrive and handle the situation.

“I would rather (police) let bylaw deal with it and not shoot the dogs,” she said. “Especially for the husky — she wouldn’t have shown her teeth if they had approached her.”

Bystander Henry Bakker said the pointer was behaving aggressively, but the husky showed no signs of aggression.

Zappia also wondered why two tagged animals would have been shot in a place where coyotes have been a problem with residents.

“We’ve had lots of problems with coyotes around here, and they’re not to be harmed. They’re protected,” she said. “So why aren’t two dogs protected?”

Const. Alain Boucher said the responding officers felt both dogs were dangerous.

“One officer had already been attacked, and the dogs were located (again),” he said. “And they lunged at the officers and the officers responded to that.

“When a dog attacks, you have not much alternative in that situation.”

None of the officers on the scene had Tasers and Boucher said pepper spray, which the officers would have been carrying, doesn’t always work on dogs. Boucher said Ottawa police officers are not trained in how to deal with aggressive animals, but they are made aware of the risks associated with animal bites.

None of the officers were bitten or injured.

Boucher said the professional standards unit is reviewing the case to see if proper procedures were followed and to assess whether anything could have been done differently.

Zappia said police told her the investigation into the incident would take seven to 10 days.

With files from

Brendan Kennedy

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

April 21st, 2009, 07:39 AM
No officer was wounded,which is a good thing,I just wish we could say the same for the dogs:sad:
Maybe it was a mixture of terror,confusion and the threatening position of the officers,that made the dogs seem aggressive,either way I wish it had been handled differently.
Even little Bailey would growl at a uniformed person,should she be shot??
It's not like the owners were not looking for them,they must be going through h..l right now

April 21st, 2009, 07:48 AM
last summer on the way home from brockville we were stopped for speeding *L* hubby, not me! Brina of course was with us, we'd attended a street festival with hundreds of were all over Brina and she lapped it up (along with their icecream cones!) in other words, she was friendly, always is , anyone could walk in my house and she'd be all over them, thats why in fact we had to quit agility, she was too friendly and would rather sit on the judges laps instead of running her course!! anyways, the cop walked up to the car, brina's tail was wagging a mile a minute but the second he put his hand in the car Brina's bark changed and she lunged!!!! shocked the heck out of all of us!!! she is scared of dark glasses which the cop did have on, but my point being, if she got loose in ottawa and a cop was chasing/staking her out, she would be nervous and could appear aggressive....I'm not taking any chances......she'll stay home when we head to ottawa which we do often to get our son.

April 21st, 2009, 12:09 PM
This is just horrible, trigger happy, had no person to shoot so do some target practice on some dogs!! :mad:

We had a similar incident in our neighbourhood, where a cop pulled a gun on 2 fighting dogs, with an 8 month pregnant owner hanging from her dogs neck (he didn't have his collar on) begging him not to shoot her dog!!! We all started screaming at the officer not to shoot, there were kids everywhere,and a pregnant lady attached to the dog!!! He finally put the gun away!! I reported his actions to police headquarters and they stood completely behind their officer, saying dogs are vicious, and there were kids around, so the cop acted accordingly, and should have shot the dog! :mad::sad:

It wasn't to long ago that the cops shot somones dog that was in it's own backyard, minding it own business!!! (the cops were chasing a suspect through the backyard, and feared the dog "could have attacked", so shot it) the owners were so upset, but were told the cops had every right to shot their dog on their property. :eek:

Please don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for most officers who risk their lives for our safety, but the bad apples make the rest of the good ones look bad.

May 22nd, 2009, 05:22 AM
Here is an update on the story about the poor dogs shot by police- surprise surprise the police were cleared of any wrong doing (which seems to be common - they always seem to get a free pass even when its obvious they really misjudged the situation!)

Cops cleared in dogs' deaths

Last Updated: 22nd May 2009, 1:14am
The owner of two dogs that were shot dead by concerned cops last month is incensed by an internal investigation that found no fault with the officers' actions.

"I'm not going to go against the police force, but I want everybody to know they're wrong," Joe Priori said yesterday.

Cops shot both his dogs -- Mika, a two-year-old husky, and Azzuro, a three-year-old German shorthaired pointer -- after officers felt threatened by the animals' allegedly aggressive behaviour on April 19 in the Greely area.

Priori's fiancee, Elena Zappia, was walking the dogs behind their home when they ran after a deer. The dogs ended up in a field at Mitch Owens and Manotick Station roads, where people were "concerned after one of the dogs attacked and attempted to bite a member of the public," according to the results of an Ottawa police investigation released yesterday.

Police said cops arrived at the scene before bylaw officers. According to the police force, one of the dogs "attacked" and tried to bite one of the cops, so his partner fired his gun at the animal, which took off with the other dog.

Police found the dogs in a field and the three cops who approached were "immediately charged by both dogs," the force said. All three cops fired at the dogs, which were mortally wounded. The force said two officers shot the dogs again to end the animals' suffering.

The force assigned the professional standards unit to investigate, but internal detectives found no wrongdoing, saying the officers followed all policies and requirements under the Police Services Act and the Criminal Code.

That still doesn't wash with Priori, who says other civilian witnesses have provided him with different accounts.

"It's not just my side of the story," Priori said. "I was sad and heartbroken, but now I'm extremely angry."

With the young couple's wedding just months away, Priori said it would be too expensive to pursue the matter further through legal channels. He's considering collecting police reports through access to information filings to see firsthand what steps internal investigators took.

Priori, 29, is particularly saddened with the loss of Mika, which he bought to cheer up his family after his father died in 2000.

"I think of her every day," Priori said of Mika. "She was like my companion."


May 22nd, 2009, 05:48 AM
thanks Melanie, I came on here to post the same thing...I'm like you, "geesh, miracles, the cops were cleared, who'd have thunk it?"

May 22nd, 2009, 07:43 AM
It does not surprise me,but it's all for naught anyway,the pups are dead and all the owners can do is mourn their terrible death,nothing will bring them back:sad:

May 22nd, 2009, 08:27 AM
Does not surprise me either. Cops are cops. Their word is grander than anyone elses. What worries me is that has set a presidence. I am certain this will be a re-accuring headline.

May 22nd, 2009, 08:58 AM
I'm new to this site but I think it is interesting how SPCA officers and Animal Control Officers put themselves at risk everyday in these situations and seem to be able to go home at the end of the day without having to shoot anything. I'm not saying that in certain situations this may have to happen to ensure everyone's safety but even the police stated that the Husky was not showing any aggression.....just a thought??

May 22nd, 2009, 12:29 PM
Very good point Sara ... Its amazing what some people can get away with because they carry a gun and a badge. I worked with the Ottawa Paramedics and at the local hospital and understand how very important police services are - however I do have a hard time understanding why lately there are more and more incidents such as this (involving people too) in this City... makes me wonder where the "line" gets drawn on accountability.