VALLEJO, Calif. (KTVU) - A Vallejo couple is outraged after their dog was shot by a police officer on Tuesday during the investigation of a domestic dispute call.
Samantha Melo and her boyfriend Manuel Trujillo said a barbeque at their Vallejo home ended with their Pitbull mix named Rambo, being shot twice by police. The incident happened Tuesday around 6:00 p.m. on the 900 block of Sacramento Street.
Melo said Rambo, who was standing outside near the side of the house, ran to the front yard when three officers approached the house.
“All I remember [Trujillo] saying is, ‘No, no, no, don’t shoot. He’s a good dog’,” Melo said.
“By the time I turned the corner, they already shot,” Trujillo said.
Rambo was shot once in his chest and in his left hind leg. The dog ran into the house, but the couple brought him back out to the front yard to apply pressure to his wounds. Melo said she became hysterical.
“I’m standing there and one of the officers says to me, ‘You need to calm down because you’re being annoying’,” she recalled. “He said, ‘Are you guys arguing?’ We’re like, ‘What are you talking about? We’re not arguing’.”
Lt. Sid DeJesus with the Vallejo Police Department said three officers were investigating a call about a domestic dispute in the area.
“The initial address given by the caller to 911 was an address that in fact did not exist,” DeJesus said.
He said after the officers continued to search the block when they heard people arguing on the property where Melo and her boyfriend were. DeJesus said as the officers approached the house, a dog aggressively charged at them. One officer tried to tase the dog, but the Taser did not deploy. Another officer immediately fired her weapon.
“This particular officer indicated that if she did not discharge felt that she would be immediately attacked by the dog,” he said.
DeJesus said officers called animal control after the dog was shot.
Melo said an animal control officer told them they had to take the dog to a vet on their own. They rushed Rambo to an emergency vet hospital in Suisun for surgery. The dog is expected to make a full recovery.
Melo later spoke to a sergeant at the police station who explained that officers had the wrong house.
“He said it was at the wrong address and all of that would be on the police report,” she said.
But DeJesus said officers were at the right house and the dog should have been under control.
“In these particular cases we try to do everything we can before our use of deadly force on an animal,” he said.
Melo called the incident a traumatic experience. She does not have children and considers Rambo like a son.
“We’re on our yard so of course my dog is not on a leash,” she added. “Pitbulls are not as aggressive as people think they are. I’m just glad that [Rambo] is alive.”
KTVU asked if the officers were wearing body cameras. DeJesus said they were, but the cameras were not recording. He said a supervisor documented the incident and is working on a report that will be sent to Internal Affairs for review.