A family is asking for policy changes after its injured cat was shot and killed by a police officer last month, 10TV's AJ Smith reported on Tuesday.
Jeffery Pisula said his cat, Ralphie, was killed right outside his family's home during the early morning hours of April 15. Pisula said that he and his wife were awakened by a commotion and looked out the window to see what was happening.
"(My wife) was still looking out the window and she screamed that they just shot our cat," Pisula said. "We went running down the stairs and we heard another gunshot."
The cat had been struck by a car and then shot by a Newark police officer, Smith reported.
"They just decided to put a towel over him and shoot him," Pisula said. He was 20 feet away from my front door. He said it was just an inconvenience to walk 20 feet."
Police said that shooting an animal is not their first option, and is usually treated as a last resort.
"Most of us have pets ourselves," said Newark police Sgt. Scott Snow. "Some of us are former or current canine handlers and have a great regard for animals."
The department has a policy in place to handle such situations. The officer is to first contact their supervisor, then look for the owners and contact animal control. In this case it was 1 a.m. and no one was working at the city's animal control facility, Smith reported.
"Sometimes we just don't have another method but to use our firearm," Snow said.
Still, Pisula said he wished the officer had not made the final decision regarding his cat's life.
"No matter what his condition was, he would have either been treated or humanely put down, but there's a veterinarian to make that call," Pisula said.
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