Julissa Santos came home from work earlier this week to “pure confusion.”
“Your dog was shot,” a neighbor said to her as she followed a trail of blood to her duplex.
“I just was in complete shock,” said the 21-year-old who learned her 8-year-old pit bull Juicyy was shot by a Coral Springs police officer after the officer said the dog charged at him. The single bullet pierced Juicyy’s head.
Santos, however, is not buying it.
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“She is not aggressive,” said Santos. “She is territorial and will bark, but that’s it. He didn’t have to kill her.”
According to police, an officer responded to a report of a loose dog in the area of 3500 NW 114th Lane in Coral Springs. When the officer arrived, he spotted a dog “that appeared to be friendly.”
That dog was her pit bull named Sonny.
Santos said someone must have left the door unlocked to the home she shares with her mom and stepfather and the dogs got out.
The officer put Sonny in the back of his SUV and tried to find his owner, according to the incident report.
He found people in the neighborhood who pointed him to Santos’ house, but was warned that there was another dog that “was aggressive and would bite,” the officer wrote in the report.
“When I approached the left side of the building where the doors to the residences are located, I immediately encountered a brown and white pit bull standing on the walkway between the two residences,” the officer wrote. “The dog immediately charged at me growling at me and showing [her] teeth.”
The officer said he tried to yell at the dog “to deter its aggressive action,” but that didn’t work.
“At this point I had retreated backwards in an attempt to gain distance, but the dog was about three to four feet away from me when I drew my department service weapon ... and fired one round striking the charging dog below [her] right eye,” the officer wrote.
The dog immediately walked to the back of the building, said the officer, who called for backup.
When backup arrived, officers found the dog by following a blood trail into the home, according to the report. The dog was taken to Coral Springs Animal Hospital.
When Santos arrived home she was told the dog was taken to the animal hospital and she rushed to Juicyy’s side. She was told the dog would not survive the injury and the best option was to put her down.
Santos, who has had Juicyy since the dog was two weeks old, said she is heartbroken that her “baby” is gone. She said Juicyy loved to cuddle, enjoyed being the center of attention and “never bit anyone.”
She has since launched an online campaign dubbed Justice for Juicyy. She said she wants law enforcement to use non-lethal tactics with animals, including Tasers.
“Animals are like your children,” she said. “I know she’s not coming back, but I hope getting this out there will prevent this from happening again.”