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.
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
FUCK THE POLICE
I’m really sorry for Bubba the dog, this kind of act petrified me, given that in order to keep peace in my yard and home, I chose a dog. I certainly hope and pray that a FALSE POLICE REPORT DOES NOT GET DOG KILLED!
I am sure that shooting a family pet was the least of his concerns however, where was his partner? Don’t they go out in twos for a ‘shots-fired ‘ called?
Personally, I’m not convinced by the official story, but accepting it for the sake of argument, that is a good question.
This is a copy of an email I sent Metro and I have yet to get a reply:
Hello Sheriff Gillespie,
I am writing this email to you in regards to the dog named Bubba that was recently shot by your officers. I am an animal lover and have some serious concerns about what has happened in this case. I think it’s deplorable that officers can enter or gain access to someone’s private property unannounced. I further don’t like the fact that officers go onto a piece of property that bares a sign “beware of dog” A dog does not know the difference between a cop and the milk man. So the dog addresses the issue of an intruder/intruders. The dog barks, the officer/s draw and shot and kill the dog! Deplorable. I have some questions for you.
1. Are police officers trained to perform this way at POST?
2. Is it a Metro policy that officers enter private property unannounced when investigating a complaint on another property?
3. Do officers have the right to kill animals on the private property they enter into unannounced?
4. Are police officers trained at POST to shoot dogs on properties that they enter unannounced?
5. Is it a Metro policy that officers can shoot dogs on private property that they enter unannounced?
6. Is it a Metro policy that the officer/s involved can and will shoot dogs on private property that they enter unannounced and get away with the animals death with impunity and immunity?
7. Does Metro offer it’s officers articulation for this type of incident?
For God’s sake! It’s like cops have free license to kill pets of all types! What if the sign on the fence was “beware of parrot” then there would be a dead parrot in Clark County. In my opinion this procedure needs to be changed and the officer/s involved need to be disciplined and I feel the family of Bubba needs to have financial restitution. So what are you going to do?
That’s a pretty good email Johnny. Thanks for sharing it.
I would be surprised if you receive a response and, if that very slim possibility actually happens, I have no doubt that it will be some boilerplate form letter. Also, based on the recently approved replacement to the Coroner’s Inquests and complete overturning of the C.I. reforms that had already been approved (twice), the free license that cops have to kill isn’t just limited to animals. They can now kill people will full confidence that they will never be punished, no matter how outrageous and questionable the circumstances surrounding the killings are.
What ever happened to police officers carrying pepper spray???
gone but not forgotten. love and miss you my boy.