TAMPA, Fla. — A South Tampa woman’s call to the Tampa Police Department ended with her dog being shot by an officer on St. Patrick’s Day.
Rachel Robledo said she called police to report a suspicious person holding a gun on a balcony of a nearby apartment.
Police say when they couldn’t locate a suspect, two officers went to speak with her directly.
“I’m instinctive, I thought this is bad,” recalled Robledo. “See something, say something. I ran home and I called them. I expected them to help me. I explained many, many times the location. They had everything they needed.”
But within minutes of officers arriving outside Robledo’s apartment, shots were fired.
Bodycam video released by the Tampa Police Department shows Robledo trying to hold back her six-year-old pit bull, Nala.
Video from the officer shows Nala exiting the apartment, and within seconds, two shots are fired at the dog.
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“She went right to the gun to shoot my dog,” said Robledo. “She could have done pepper spray, she could have done anything else.”
Nala underwent surgery the next morning and is recovering.
Neighbors describe the dog as loving and kind.
“Exactly, why a police officer would find it necessary to shoot a dog, why was that the first reaction? I cannot imagine that Nala would ever approach anyone in an aggressive manner,” said Andrew Gartrell. “I really just hope this never happens to any dog ever again.”
Tampa police released the following statement Tuesday night:
"As the complainant came out of the door, her dog ran out of the front door toward one officer. The officer fired two shots, striking the dog as it charged toward her. The canine was struck by both bullets and was transported, by the owner, to an emergency veterinary hospital. The veterinarian reviewed the x-rays and advised that she did not see any metal fragments left behind, the wounds did not appear life-threatening, and the dog appeared to be doing well.
The officer responded to the threat of a pit bull running toward her and took immediate action to keep herself safe. While no officer wants to fire at a dog, it presented a perceived threat to the officer at the time.
Our Professional Standards Bureau conducts an internal investigation any time an officer discharges a weapon. This remains an ongoing investigation at this time"
Robledo expects accountability from TPD and is calling on the department to help pay for veterinary bills.
Neighbors have organized a GoFundMe to help with the cost.