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DPD: Officer ‘did the right thing’ preventing man from helping injured dog who died

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(Credit: MGN Online)

DENVER — An online petition claims officers from the Denver Police Department showed “a complete lack of tact, respect, professionalism and compassion” in delaying the possible rescue of a slowly dying dog this week.

Connor Leiva of Englewood posted the petition to on Thursday. In the petition, it was suggested that Denver Police officers prevented concerned bystanders from caring for a dog that was hit by a car on Wednesday night for 90 minutes before the animal died from its injuries.

Several concerned citizens who left comments on the petition also suggested that Animal Control officers took 90 minutes to respond to the incident. Cheryl Hoffman of Bailey wrote that when those officers did arrive on scene, they were seen carrying the dog’s dead body away from the area, “laughing while doing so.”

Richard Marquez of Aurora, another concerned citizen who posted a comment on the petition, claimed police told a bystander trying to help the animal that he was “disturbing an ongoing investigation” and that he “would be arrested” if he didn’t leave the scene.

Officers reportedly told the bystander they were “following protocol,” according to several citizens who posted comments.

Friday afternoon the Denver Police Department issued a statement on YouTube. Spokesman Sonny Jackson said “We are stuck between a rock and a hard place, because we got to protect the public, we got to protect the dog, and we are not the experts in moving the dog or treating the dog.”

Animal Control Supervisor Lt. Aaron McSpadden said in the video that injured dogs can be unpredictable, even to their owners.

Leiva said he wants an apology.

“It can make a difference,” Leiva suggested, “by ensuring that future situations of this delicate nature could be handled more promptly and with an increased sense of professionalism and empathy.”



  • Darlene Hurley

    I tried signing this petition, but I never saw anything that it went through. They just passed another law and it was signed that in Colorado they are supposed to give emergency care to animals, but the cops in this state don’t want to do anything like that. According to one report that I read the dog was in shock and not any threat to the person who was trying to help it, but the cops said it was a “safety issue” that the person helping might be hurt. That was just their excuse. They had no compassion for the dog or for his owners. For all they knew the dog could have been someone’s service dog. At the least he was part of someone’s family, but they didn’t care. The dog had apparently gotten frightened because he had collar and leash on, so he wasn’t just turned loose to run.

    • Stella Ulibarri Medina

      Had this been that cops service dog he would have been mad no one helped and animal control would have been there in less then 10mins but because this dog was “just another dog” he was left to die. Had this been a there dog the outcome would have been different don’t you think?

  • Ann Pirie

    I was raised by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. An unskilled person never approaches an injured animal. They can snap, out of fear, and cause you more problems than you would wish you ever knew. DPD handled this situation appropriately to keep all of you safe.

      • lisaxmoore

        That’s a chance any human with a heart would be willing to take watching an animal (someone’s pet) dying.
        We get that your not one of them so you can take your heartless opinions to someone who cares !!! I’m sure your “doctor of veterinary medicine ” is no longer practicing . I can understand why.
        Your a disgrace to the human race!!! Pathetic and heartless !!!

    • Ben E Jordan

      BS Ann and I know what you are saying and have experienced this happening to me. Lets get down to brass tacks, to let an animal, in this case a wonderful loving dog die without any attempt to help it, is totally wrong and inhumane. You need to find another profession if you are not willing to risk getting injured trying to help a dog survive, period!!

    • Christopher F Cheney

      No way they did the right thing. you do not allow an animal to die right in front of you. learn cpr learn dog cpr you follow those step you be safe. there other ways to make a face guard on dog so it does not bite but aplenty you people are stupid use common sense. You do not wait 90 minutes for help!

  • Carol Price Jones

    I was doing to make that point as well. If this had been a police K9 would he be left to die in the road with no one to comfort him? I think not. This was heartless and disgusting. If I had been on scene I would be in jail after immediately calling the media and a long line of people to come and try to help the dog after I was hauled away. I will always do the RIGHT thing no matter the consequences, that is how I was raised. You will not keep me back from a suffering living thing, be it human or otherwise, with your bully threats. I am a big supporter of law enforcement but here is NO EXCUSE for this. DPD you show other people how you want to be treated by how you treat the most helpless and weak among us. One hopes that if a bad guy gets the best of you and you are laying in the street suffering and dying someone is there to hold your hand and comfort you, oh wait, you don’t want that, the professionals are on the way so everyone stand back and watch.

  • Fast45

    After all, this is DPD we’re talking about. If there would’ve been fewer witnesses they would have used the pooch for target practice, and beaten any Good Samaritans who tried to help.

  • Vicki Hosman

    There is no law preventing anyone from helping a wounded animal. It’s done all the time… Injured animals, both Domesticated (dogs and cats) and wild (birds and mammals), are picked up and taken to veterinarians and rehabilitators every day without incident. If the police honestly needed a suffering animal to lie in the street for them to complete their investigation, then fine. Leave him there for now, but eventually the public will demand that policy be changed. Otherwise, the police have, on multiple occasions, made it clear that they have no duty to care for animals. If THAT is to be their policy, so be it. But when something like this happens, private citizens should be allowed to do what they feel is necessary to care for the animal.

    I understand the officers’ quandary,having to choose between protecting the safety of the public and department policy on public dogs, but this will need to be addressed soon.

    Also…. The recent law passed ALLOWED emergency workers to provide oxygen and first-aid type care to animals, it didn’t impose the DUTY for them to provide this care.

    And regarding the animal control people laughing as they carried the dog away? Seriously? Who cares? They have a terrible job. I’m quite sure they weren’t laughing about the dog or the situation and I certainly don’t begrudge their laughter any more than I begrudge LEOs, Paramedics, ER nurses and doctors, or firefighters for laughing when they’re performing THEIR jobs.

    And no, I’m not a heartless human. I’m just one who’s been around the block a few times and tends to make decisions based on facts and reality rather than emotion. That’s not a bad thing.

  • Thomas Zieba

    The problem with this news story is how would anyone tend to the injured dog and are they actually qualified to tend to the dog till any sort of help arrived? Police are getting a bad rep for having anything to do with dogs, a damned if you do/damned if you don’t situation. The dogs in shock and I doubt many police officers are trained to stabilize a dog. Likely they’d be doing more harm than good if they tried. It’s also a safety situation, with our sue happy country, that someone could be bitten or hurt or even have the dogs death blamed on them for not doing enough.

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