Labrador shot by police officer; owners say dog was not aggressive

McCoy was a year-and-a-half old White Labrador.

HIGGINSON, Ark. (KATV) -- A Labrador dog is dead after being shot by a police officer Monday afternoon.

McCoy was a year-and-a-half old white lab, described as "gentle and playful" by his owners. But police say the dog lunged at an officer.

"That was shocking to me because my dog wasn't an aggressive dog at all," Trey, McCoy's owner, said.

On Monday morning, Trey left McCoy in the backyard as usual, and went to work. But a couple hours later he received a call that no one wants to get.

"It's heartbreaking. It's a beautiful dog. I mean, absolutely beautiful animal," Higginson Chief of Police Eric Patterson said.

McCoy had apparently let himself out of the yard by digging a hole under the fence. That's when residents at a house down the street called 9-1-1 on an "aggressive dog".

"He kept running from one side of our property to the other, he would come like he was going at the officers, then he would jump across our dog," Amy Usery, an eyewitness said.

She says when she pulled up to her home, McCoy was growling, and acting in a way that made Usery afraid to get out of her car.

Chief Patterson adds that Usery's neighbor's dog, too, had a run-in with McCoy.

"The dog had bitten this little dog prior to [the incident], and got him on the head, trying to hold on to the small little dog," Patterson said.

It was then that Kensett and Higginson Police were called to the scene, and that's when Patterson says officers spent an hour trying to calm McCoy down.

"He lunged straight up. When you lunge straight up, instant reaction is he's gonna bite. So he just pulled a gun and shot him," Patterson explained.

"My heart goes out to the people that the animal belonged to. No animal should ever have to be done that way," Usery said.

Police handle animal calls because there is no animal control in the Higginson area, Patterson explained. He adds that they respond to an animal call on a weekly basis, and that this incident with McCoy is the first time a dog has ever had to be shot.

Meanwhile, McCoy's owner, Trey, says he believes the situation could have been handled differently, and tells KATV he just wants to talk face to face with the officer who shot his dog.

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