Commerce City family outraged when cops shoot their dog
By Howard Pankratz
The Denver Post
Maria Agazio with Zoey in 2007. (Agazio family)Zoey was a mutt adopted from an animal shelter in 2003.
She had never bitten anyone, her owners said, although she'd always bark at visitors who came to their 10-acre property in Commerce City.
About 3 p.m., Wednesday, Zoey was shot dead by a Commerce City police officer.
Julia and Frank Agazio say what happened was inexcusable.
"It's like losing one of your kids," said Frank Agazio. "Zoey was my best friend."
The Commerce City police say the officer did the only thing she could, shoot a "vicious dog" who threatened her.
An investigation into the incident is on-going.
When the shooting happened on Wednesday, Julia Agazio had just been out of the hospital a few days where she had had major surgery.
The couple's answering machine wasn't operating properly. Since the couple was receiving a lot of calls from doctors and friends concerned about, or checking on, Julia Agazio, Frank was trying to fix it.
In doing so he accidentally hit a pre-programmed 911 button.
When he did, the Commerce City Police called back to find out if everything was OK. He told them everything was fine.
Commerce City police decided to send an officer to the residence to make sure - without telling the Agazios they would soon be there.
Officer Chris Dickey, spokesman for the Commerce City Police Department, said that such a response is customary police work.
"The officer was responding to a 911 call to determine the validity of what was going on," said Dickey. "It is our responsibility."
He said the female officer - who he declined to identify by name or length of service - walked through an open gate on the Agazio driveway, said Dickey.
There, said Dickey, she was confronted by "three, large vicious dogs."
Dickey said the officer shot Zoey as the dog attempted to attack her.
The officer is still on duty and is still carrying her weapon. The shooting is not the same as where an officer shoots a human and is placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The Agazios tell a different version of events.
They claim that moments before the shooting, Zoey, along with the other two dogs, were on a porch being fed biscuits by Frank's 82-year-old father.
They believe the two other dogs stayed with Frank's father.
When the officer approached, Zoey, who has always acted as the couple's watchdog, apparently heard the officer and started barking at her as she always did at visitors.
The Agazios said the officer had walked at least 40 yards on to their property when she pulled the trigger once. The shot struck Zoey in the chest.
At the time she was shot, the Agazios said Zoey was 10 feet away from the officer.
Julia Agazio is particularly outraged.
She said Zoey was a loyal dog — weighing about 35 pounds — who always "stayed by your side."
"Our family is totally devastated over the murder of our dog," said Julia Agazio. "We are still in shock and can't believe that a cop can sneak into your yard invited and just shoot your dog in the heart."
Julia Agazio said the 10-acre property has been in the Agazio family since 1924 when her husband's grandfather came to Commerce City from Italy and began farming on the acreage. She said the Agazios are law-abiding, upstanding citizens who have never been in any trouble.
She said last year the Commerce City "dog catcher" did come to their property and rescued another of their dogs, which had fallen down a well.
Dickey, the spokesman for the Commerce City Police Department, said he was not aware of any record of prior police calls to the Agazio home.
The Agazios say they wish that the female officer, if she was concerned about the dog, would have called the police dispatcher and had the Agazios restrain their pet. And they wonder why the officer didn't use a Taser or pepper spray.
"We receive constant deliveries from UPS, Fed Ex, the mail man and other various delivery services and none of these people have ever been attacked by our 'vicious' dogs," said Julia Agazio.
The most profound impact of the shooting has been on their 13-year-old daughter Maria, who fainted after seeing her pet being shot.
"Her first interaction with those who are meant to serve and protect ended up with them murdering her dog right in front of her," said Maria's mother. "No longer is Zoey on her little rug at the front door where she lay for the last seven years."
East Palo Alto cop: Shoot a gun owner, get '2 weeks off!!!'
There's a disturbing, infuriating story in the Daily News about open carriers--or more accurately, about comments East Palo Alto police detective Rod Tuason allegedly made about them on his Facebook page:
"Sounds like you had someone practicing their 2nd amendment rights last night!" Tuason wrote. "Should've pulled the AR out and prone them all out! And if one of them makes a furtive movement ... 2 weeks off!!!"
Tuason even took the opportunity to ridicule the fact that "law-abiding" gun owners can't get concealed carry permits. From the screenshot on the "Oaklander" blog":
Haha that's when you attend one of their meetings and laugh at them cuz they can only dream to have a ccw...
We've seen the "Only One" attitude at its most ridiculous--I developed the meme in response to DEA agent Lee Paige: "I'm the only one in this room professional enough that I know of to carry this Glock .40," he told a roomful of school kids in an anti-gun/drug lecture, then proceeded to shoot himself in the foot trying to holster the weapon.
Now we see it manifest itself in police state elitism that's chilling--particularly the implication that a citizen breaking no laws can be murdered and the state perpetrator will be rewarded with paid time off. And the rest, who are intimidated into defenselessness, are to be laughed at and held in contempt by armed enforcers.
A poster claiming to be Tuason and using the screen name ".45shooter" is a regular at the CalGuns forum. He claims to be pro-gun and says he "should have chosen [his] words better...".
Yeah, no kidding, genius. I don't buy that he didn't let slip a state of mind that has been developed over years in an environment fostering the "us vs. them" divide." So much for "securing the blessings of Liberty".
I understand that many police work under conditions where wanting to go home at the end of their shift can be a real concern. I and my fellow gun owners would like to go home at the end of your shift too, fellas. And our lives are worth a hell of a lot more to ourselves, our families and our children than two weeks leave for you, followed by the standard declaration that official protocols were followed.
Nice job, detective. More of us than you know are disgusted and angered instead of cowed by your words.
So thanks for the "2 weeks off!!!" slogan. What a useful tool for refuting the myth that creatures like you are the "only ones" we can trust with guns.
Click to view image: '19e09b5d2513-cop_shot.jpg'
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