OCOEE, Fla. – A Central Florida family is demanding justice after their pet dog was shot and killed by a police officer.
Jackie and Mitch Schutt said an Ocoee police officer knocked on their front door on Sept. 18 to return an ID, but when Jackie opened the door, her dogs ran out to the porch and, she said, the unthinkable happened.
"The officer just pulled out his gun and shot her three times while I had a hold of her," said Jackie Schutt.
The Schutts say their family is traumatized and devastated after the officer shot and killed their 3-year-old boxer, Laila. They said it happened seconds after opening their door, without warning, right in front of their eyes.
"You can't get another dog to replace her. She was our family member," said Mitch Schutt.
The Schutts say Laila, and their other boxer, Ali, came outside just to protect the family. They think Laila barked at the officer's feet and scratched his ankle with her nail, but the officer said he was bit, felt threatened and opened fire.
The Schutts say bullet fragments struck their front door right where their 9-year-old and 6-year-old children were standing.
"My kids witnessed it all," said Mitch Schutt. "He could have not only shot my wife, but ricochet could have hit my kids."
They have now turned to Facebook, launching a "Justice for Laila" page.
They've also hired an attorney, but said they don't want money, but they do want the officer off the job.
"What if I jumped on top of her and he shot me because he didn't even say, 'Hey, I'm pulling my gun, I'm going to shoot your dog.' Nothing," said Jackie Schutt.
Ocoee police confirmed to Local 6 they are investigating the shooting.
They would not release the officer's name, but said he was not suspended and is now back on duty.
Ocoee police Lt. Stephen McCosker said the officer involved is a veteran who's been on the force for more than 10 years. Lt. McCosker also said the officer also took a few days of medical leave to recover from the bite.
Local 6's legal expert Luis Calderon said officers have the right to come onto someone's property and shoot and kill a dog, but only if the officer has reason to believe they are in danger.
The Schutts say the Ocoee officer was never in danger and added he refused treatment from paramedics after the incident.