Family dog shot by police in Hammond

May 3, 2012 (HAMMOND, Ind.)

First, their home was destroyed by fire. They did not have insurance. Then an apparent misunderstanding led to a police officer shooting the family dog.

On April 15, the McCullough family lost their home in a fire, leaving them homeless. They have been staying elsewhere but would return to their home to feed their dog "Angel" and the 11 puppies she gave birth to last week. Wednesday morning, the family was in their home when Hammond Police arrived.

Louis McCullough said police were screaming so Angel started to bark. "She ran toward (the officer)," McCullough said. McCullough said he told the dog to stop. "She stopped to turn and look at me and he shot her in the back."

Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller says the police went to the home after a complaint about prowlers.

"Regrettably, one of our police officers did shoot their dog," said Miller. "The dog got out from a corner and came towards him, and he says the dog lunged at him, and he blocked the dog with his knee, and he fired one shot."

"(The officer) was screaming and cursing at us from the time we interacted," said Chanel McCullough. "He didn't even give us a chance to explain."

Miller said his department will look into the family's allegations of unfair treatment.

The McCulloughs say Angel was an important part of the family. She had been with them since she was a puppy. The dog did not die instantly but later at a vet's office.

Telling their four children has been very difficult for the McCulloughs.

"I don't want her death to be in vain, because this could happen to some other family," said Louis McCullough.

The family is now left with taking care of 11 baby pit bulls and feeding them until someone wants to take them.

Miller says that McCullough was cited by the city for recently keeping dogs without the required vaccines and breeding them without a license. The McCulloughs deny breeding dogs. A court date is scheduled for May 16.

Miller added that no police officer goes to work wanting to shoot a dog.

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