Family's pet dog fatally shot by off-duty police officer

July 8, 2013 4:15:43 PM PDT
An off-duty officer shot and killed a neighbor's dog after he said his family was attacked. The owners of that dog are telling a different story, and they are calling for that officer to face charges.

That controversial pet shooting happened in a Cypress neighborhood. Families in the area are buzzing about it, and so are hundreds of people across social media.

Dog owner Kimberly Fitzhenry said, "He just brought so much to us. We really, really miss him."

It's been an emotional few days for members of the Fitzhenry family. They say their boxer named "Gunner" was shot and killed behind their Cypress area home by an off-duty Houston police officer who happens to be their neighbor.

"I just don't see how you can justify walking up to an animal and shooting it in the neck at point blank range with three children 30 feet away from you," said Kevin Fitzhenry.

The shooting happened on Friday. The Fitzhenrys say their sons and their friends were in the backyard playing baseball when 12-year-old Dalton chased a ball that went over the fence and onto a track where investigators say Senior Police Officer Mark Condon and his wife were walking their own pets.

"When I opened the gate, Gunner ran out," recalled Dalton Fitzhenry. "I was calling him to come back and he ran toward the dog."

In a statement released to Eyewitness News, Officer Condon wrote:

    "At the time of the incident, my wife and I were outside walking our dogs when a neighbor's dog, a boxer, apparently got out of their backyard as we passed their house. The dog charged us and attacked me, my wife and one of our dogs. All three of us sustained injuries from the attack, which were documented by the Precinct 4 Constables' Office. I felt that I had no choice but to shoot the other dog to stop the attack. There were no children around when I fired the shot, and it was not in the direction of any people or houses.

    I have owned dogs and have been an animal lover my entire life. The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt an animal, especially someone's pet. I am very sorry that the neighbors lost their dog, but I felt that I had no other choice under the circumstances.

    This is the first time in 17 years of being a police officer that I have shot my weapon, except at the firing range."

The Fitzhenry family says an attack never happened. Dalton says he watched in horror as Gunner was shot in the neck.

"All my dog does is lick the other dog and smelled the other dog," Dalton explained. "He doesn't like growl or bark."

As this investigation continues, Dalton and his younger brothers have spent time making posters to remember their friend and family pet.

The Precinct 4 Constable's Office and HPD Internal Affairs are investigating the incident.

The Fitzhenry family says they're making plans to have Gunner cremated.

Find Demond on Facebook at ABC13DemondFernandez or on Twitter at @demondfernandez


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