CRIME

Off-Duty Police Officer Shoots Family's Dog Dead

07/09/2013 04:43 pm ET

The Fitzhenrys, of Cypress, Texas, say their 12-year-old son and his friends were playing just 30 feet away when the shooting occurred Friday, local ABC affiliate KTRK-TV reports.

Houston police officer Mark Condon says the neighbors' 4-year-old boxer attacked him, his wife and their dog, the station reports. He said the three had sustained injuries from the incident, adding "I am very sorry that the neighbors lost their dog, but I felt that I had no other choice under the circumstances."

However, 12-year-old Dalton Fitzhenry, who received the dog, Gunner, as a Christmas present in 2009, rejects Condon's story.

"All [Gunner] was doing was smelling the dog like he always does," Dalton told local CBS affiliate KHOU-TV. "He just like, pulls [the gun] out point blank range and shot."

Gunner, who had been shot in the neck, perished on the way to the animal emergency shelter, KTRK reported. The Houston Police Department says it is investigating the incident.

Incidents of police shooting dogs have been spread on social media throughout the past week after a shocking video of a Hawthorne, Calif., police officer shooting a dog went viral on YouTube and Reddit.

The three officers involved in the shooting were removed from street duty July 3 after receiving death threats, officers said.

When asked why the California officer needed to shoot four times, Hawthorne Police Department spokesman Lt. Scott Swain told The Huffington Post, "We're not trained to shoot one shot or to shoot in the leg. You're always trained to shoot multiple shots."

"Firing a gun is a last resort. We're trained to eliminate the threat, and that's a judgment call on the officers," Swain added.

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