After yet another unnecessary shooting by police of a family pet, something that is beginning to become routine nationwide, Las Vegas residents and “Nevada Voters For Animals,” an animal advocacy group, have organized demonstrations to bring attention to the problem and demand answers from Las Vegas Police.
Bubba, a six year old pit bull was shot Sunday, January 6th by Sgt William Wilson, of LVMPD, while in his own backyard in what many contend was at best an avoidable act and violation of the owner’s Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless searches.
Metro’s version of what happened is that Wilson was investigating a disturbance at another residence (over a block away) when he heard a gunshot. According to Wilson, he also heard “yelling or moaning” coming from the back yard where Bubba was prompting him to enter the gate. This, of course, would negate Fourth Amendment requirements because of the possibility that a badly injured person was in grave danger. During the process of searching for the potential injured person (who has never been found), Bubba ran toward Sgt. Wilson, who felt threatened and responded by shooting him.
However, the likelihood of someone being able to pinpoint the exact location of a gunshot from that distance as well as Las Vegas Police’s tendency to lie even when they don’t need to has lead to a lot of second guessing or even outright disbelief regarding the official story. Among those doubters is Allen Lichtenstein, ACLU of Nevada General Counsel:
“Lichtenstein said the police account raises a lot of questions, such as how Wilson knew with certainty which house the gunshot and screaming were coming from while he was a street over. And did police investigate other homes to determine where the yelling or moaning originated?
Lichtenstein said a gunshot heard from a nearby street does not amount to a legitimate circumstance allowing police access to a private backyard without permission.”
Other counterarguments about the need to shoot Bubba include, the fact that the owner was home and therefore could have been told to put Bubba in the house, the gate was clearly marked with a “Beware of Dog” sign, and the seeming lack of any sort of investigation or questioning among the owner’s neighbors after the shooting, which would tend to invalidate the claim that they were concerned about someone in the area having been shot.
A previous rally by those skeptical of the circumstances behind the shooting of Bubba was held on Thursday Jan. 10th in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, which greets tourists at the end of the Strip. The upcoming rally, scheduled for Saturday Jan. 12th, will take place outside the new headquarters of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, located at 400 South Martin Luther King BLVD.:
“This will be the second protest to demand Justice for Bubba on behalf of Nevada Voters For Animals. The senseless and unjustifiable shootings of animals needs to stop. THE POLICE NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE! Bring Loud but tasteful signs. This protest is being held in front of the Las Vegas Metro Police Headquarters.”
Nevada Cop Block strongly encourages anyone that cares about animals and the larger issue of police accountability and the propensity of Las Vegas area police to view gunfire as a first option to attend this and any future rallies.