Police officer responds to wrong address, fatally shoots dog

WYCKOFF, NJ -- Authorities are investigating after a police officer responded to a report of a burglary in New Jersey and apparently shot a pet dog after going to the wrong address.

Now, the family is devastated and demanding answers.

"They're painting my dog as this aggressive attack dog who attacked a cop, and that's why he got shot," Olda Vukobratovic said, of her beloved 5-year-old German Shepherd Otto. "They were negligent."

Wyckoff police received a report of a possible break-in at 621 Lawlins Road on Wednesday, but Police Chief Benjamin Fox says Officer Kyle Ferreira erroneously went to 622 Lawlins.

"The officer, when he received the call, he repeated back on the radio '622 Lawlins Road received,'" Fox said.

Fox said that no one answered the front door, so Ferreira entered the backyard through an unlocked fence gate and spotted an open window. Fox says he drew his revolver and approached, and the growling dog lunged out the window, bit the officer's foot and latched on.

That's when the officer fired his gun four times, striking the dog twice.

"He does not know, at this point, what he has," Fox said. "Or if there are suspects still in the house."

Homeowner Igor Vukobratovic had taken relatives to the mall and had left the low window open so that Otto could let himself out into the backyard. He returned to hear officers say "We shot your dog," and he rushed to Otto's side. The bullets had pierced his spine and lung.

"He looked at me, he was so scared," he said. "And I couldn't do anything to save him."

Wyckoff Animal control took the dog to an animal hospital for treatment, but the pet did not survive.

"Our neighbors were signaling the cop, saying 'no, this way, this way,' and all the sudden, the cop just went straight into the backyard," Olga said. "Why was his first reaction to shoot the dog?"

But Fox denied that.

"It makes sense that had the officer been called and was told 'you were at the wrong house,' he would have approached those people," he said.

The couple also disputed the claims that Ferreira tried the front door first.

"If they would have knocked or rang the doorbell, he would've just come to the front door and barked at them," Igor said.

The officer did not sustain any injury.

"This officer is extremely distraught over the fact that this dog was killed," Fox said. "This officer was in danger at this point."

The investigation is ongoing.
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