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Commerce City officer pleads not guilty in dog shooting

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'Chloe' who was shot by a Commerce City police officer. (Photo: handout)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — A Commerce City police officer entered a not guilty plea Monday morning to a charge of animal cruelty in the case of a pit bull mix that was shot to death last year.

Officer Robert Price faces a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. He’s accused of shooting Gary Branson’s dog Chloe on November 24.

Price was one of a number of officers that responded to a call that Chloe got loose and someone called 911 saying she was acting aggressively.

Police said they tried to find Chloe’s owner but were not successful. They decided the dog should be captured and taken to an animal control shelter.

When officers approached Chloe inside an open garage, they say, she continued to be aggressive.

A neighbor recorded the encounter on video tape.

The video shoes an animal control officer was able to get a cathpole around Chloe’s neck, but she continued to be agitated. One officer tried shooting her twice with a stun gun. Then an officer fires five shots at the dog and kills Chloe.

The video shocked neighbors who said the officers acted improperly. Some have demonstrated outside the Commerce City Hall.

Price was placed on administrative leave. Later, Adams County District Attorney Don Quick, after an investigation that included interviews with 15 witnesses and a viewing of the video, decided to charge Price.

The Commerce City Police Department ruled that the shooting was justified a few days after the incident.

The Animal Law Center has decided to represent Branson in the case.

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