Family: Cop shot dog, city won't pay vet bill

June 29, 2010 6:53:33 AM PDT
A Freeport police officer responding to a call for help ended up shooting a dog -- a dog that was just helping his deaf owner. But what the police department did next, the owner's family calls really insensitive.

For 14 years, Rascal has been Barbara Khoury's constant companion. She also relies on his bark to keep her safe. But last month, it almost killed him.

"Boom! My ear rings," she said.

It is a sound even Barbara didn't have trouble hearing, even though she's been deaf since birth.

She had called 911 because she felt dizzy and couldn't breathe. She just wanted help. Instead, there was a second emergency.

"Next thing she knows, she heard a loud shot, and then she thought the cop done killed her dog," said her son, Don Donnelly Khoury.

Freeport Police Chief Tyrone Morrow had an explanation.

"He felt like he was in danger," Morrow said.

Morrow says when his officer cracked open the door, the barking dog charged him so he had no choice but to use deadly force.

"All he knows is he has an injured female that needs medical attention, and his ability to render that aid is being compromised by an aggressive animal who looks like it's going to attack," Morrow said.

"Right here, it was a big long gash," Don Khoury said.

The bullet grazed Rascal. He went to the vet, had six staples and got to go home, but it wasn't over.

"They're taking advantage of my mother," Don Khoury said.

The city told Barbara Khoury she had to pay the vet bill. Chief Morrow made the decision and stands by it.

"I believe it's not our responsibility to pay for the bill that was reciprocated by the lady calling us for a medical emergency," Morrrow said. "Now, would we have helped her if she had said it was an issue? Absolutely, but she never expressed that."

Her family members are the ones who are upset.

Barbara Khoury doesn't have any extra in her monthly budget. So to pay the $280 bill, she had to go to the bank and take out a loan.

"That's just totally wrong," Don Khoury said.

He believes none of this should have happened in the first place.

"She just wanted help," he said.

But Barbara Khoury and her family are grateful Rascal is still with them, and for that, they thank the officer's bad aim.

"That's a real good thing, yeah, or else the dog could have been in a lot worse shape," Don Khoury said.


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