"Absolutely irresponsible" is how Al Phillips describes Brandon Pettigrew, the Chicago police officer who shot his prize puppy while writing a ticket Saturday. Now, Phillips and his wife Barbara are suing the city.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, the owners of the wounded seven-month-old miniature bull terrier named Colonel, allege injury to their dog and emotional distress, reports Fox Chicago. In addition, the couple claims retaliation and intimidation from police after they spoke to the media about the incident.
"The main goal of the Phillips family is to make sure that this doesn't happen again," Michael Lamonica, the family's attorney, explained to the station. "It's obviously unacceptable for police officers to be shooting animals, especially animals that aren't doing anything to deserve it."
On Saturday, Al Phillips dashed outside after a neighbor alerted him that a police officer was ticketing his van, DNAinfo Chicago reports. Colonel slipped out the door ahead of his 74-year-old owner and, according to neighbor Todd McClay who says he watched the incident unfold, Pettigrew shot the dog twice.
McClay told DNA that when the dog appeared, he was doing nothing more than wagging his tail before the two bullets struck his paw and belly.
Phillips told NBC Chicago that after Pettigrew shot the dog, he "casually and callously" continued to write the parking ticket.
Complicating matters, a sergeant and lieutenant came to the Phillips' home two days after the incident and cited the family for having a dog off the leash at the time of the incident, according to DNA. The Phillips lawsuit says the officers questioned why the family went to the media.
The Phillips also filed a complaint with the Police Department, according to CBS Chicago, and want to see sanctions against Pettigrew, as well.
“That this person is allowed to carry a gun, I believe is absolutely irresponsible,” Al Phillips told CBS.
Neighbors are concerned about who else could have been hit during the incident, reports WGN, while the Chicago Police Department has kept mum, saying only that the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the matter.
In 2011, a federal jury awarded a family $333,000 after Chicago police shot its dog during a search that found no criminal activity in the home.