SAN ANTONIO — A tiny Chihuahua dog has been shot dead, a teen girl is grieving and her neighbors said they want answers after a tragic incident Monday afternoon on the 700 block of Poinsettia in east San Antonio.
San Antonio Police said all proper procedures were followed when a patrol officer was asked to do something to end the suffering of a gravely injured dog.
Serenity Chacon knows her tiny dog, Trixie, escaped from her fenced yard.
“I just came home and they said, ‘Oh, like, the cops just shot your dog in the head,’ and I was like, 'What?’ Like that's crazy, and the cop just drove off and left," Chacon said while wiping away tears.
Witnesses who saw the dog in distress and pictures of Trixie confirm the pet had significant, catastrophic injuries.
The details are graphic and disturbing.
“The officer noticed there was a small dog that had been severely injured," SAPD Officer Doug Greene said. "The intestines of the dog were protruding. There were puncture wounds. This dog was either mauled by another animal or hit by a car.”
Greene said injured animal calls are difficult situations. The officer couldn't let the animal continue to suffer, so the officer made the judgment call to shoot the dog after checking with his supervisor.
“A lot of officers, we love animals, and that's the last thing we want to do is see an animal destroyed in that manner," he said. "But this animal was suffering."
Greene added that since Trixie was wearing no collar or tags, and she was found outside her own yard, the patrol officer had no way to reach out to find an owner.
Eyewitness Maryann Dukes said she was sitting on her porch when the incident started. She said she doesn’t know what happened to Trixie, but in the moments leading up to the fatal shot, everything was quiet and peaceful.
"No barking. No nothing. Just 'pop,'" Dukes said. "All I heard was 'pow.'"
Dukes said she saw the officer lean over her neighbor’s fence, shoot the tiny dog and then leave the area without offering anyone an explanation.
Dukes’ father, Richard Dukes, said he was asleep on his couch when he heard the shot, and he did what he always does in his crime-ridden neighborhood.
“I heard the gunshot, and the gunshot scared me, and I was in a deep sleep, but I fell on the floor," Richard Dukes said. "That's the action that we usually take over here in this area because of gun shooting, but this felt like it was in my living room.”
Dukes said he was shocked and dismayed when he went outside and got no answers about what happened from the officer involved.
“I want to know why it took place. They acted like it was business as normal, and they took off without giving me an answer,” Dukes said.
Maryann Dukes said that when the officer drove away, the neighbor picked up the little dog, bagged her body and placed it in the trash.
“It's crazy," Chacon said. "It's just not right."
Richard Dukes said the officer should have explained his actions to bystanders.
“Just respect would be, 'I had to do this. I had to do that.' None of that took place," he said. "Even when we requested it, they did not do it. I'm not satisfied and I want some answers.”
Police said they did ask for the dog to be removed by a city crew, but the neighbor removed the remains before that crew arrived. They also say a supervisor has since contacted all the parties involved with an explanation.
“According to the supervisor, there was an understanding and appreciation," Greene said.
Lopez said apologizing to her daughter would be the right thing to do.
“Come and apologize. It probably didn't mean nothing to them, but to her it did—to just leave him there dead, thrown on the floor,” Lopez said.
Police said prevention is vital to avoiding similar tragedies. SAPD says all pets should be safely contained, collared and tagged.