MILWAUKEE -- Sonja and Vaughn Schroeder are upset after a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed their seven-year-old Dalmatian dog. However, a Milwaukee Police Department spokeswoman says there is more to this situation than what the Schroeders allege.
Sonja Schroeder told FOX6 News her husband had just arrived home from the hospital early Tuesday morning, December 4th. She saw his cab arrive from her upstairs window, and let their dog Shandar down the stairs into their narrow hallway to greet Vaughn -- as the dog always did.
"I didn't know there was a cop in the hallway," Sonja said.
Vaughn heard the shots as he stepped onto the porch.
"I just see the cop standing there and my dog laying there all bloody. I just said 'you killed my dog,' and he didn't say nothing," Vaughn said.
A Milwaukee Police Department spokeswoman sent FOX6 News a statement saying the veteran officer was at the home to do a welfare check on Vaughn because Sonja had called earlier about him having inhaled glue. When the officer arrived, he knocked on the door, and announced he was a police officer, before he heard barking and went back down the stairs.
The statement goes on to say the officer: "shouted for Sonja to grab the dog. The dog charged down the stairs, tail down, showing teeth and gums and growled at the officer, coming straight toward him. Officers are trained to stop the threat. The officer had no means of escape, and fearing for his safety, discharged his gun until the threat was stopped."
Waukesha County Technical College Dean of Criminal Justice Brian Dorow says officers only have a split second to react in these types of situations.
"If they perceive that threat, they are justified to take actions and protect themselves," Dorow said.
Sonja said she never heard anyone downstairs. Vaughn says the glue situation was a mistake he is embarrassed about. Both of the Schroeders feel it has nothing to do with how Shandar died.
"I just don't understand. There couldn't have been some other course of action he could have taken?" Sonja said.
"They killed my dog. That's all I have to say," Vaughn said.
The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission is processing an official complaint about this incident.
According to police reports, the most common instance of Milwaukee police officers using their weapons in recent years has been when they've encountered dogs.