Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pets Gunned Down By Cops In Mississauga

The owner of two American bulldogs gunned down by cops in an upscale Mississauga neighbourhood over the weekend vows he won't rest until he finds out why his beloved pets were "murdered."
"They were lovable animals and they never showed any aggression," Diego Vidic, 23, said of Lina, 4, and her eight month-old puppy, Fancy. "I can't sleep until I know what truly happened.
"My girlfriend's son, who is only four, has grown up with them and now he's lost his two best friends," he said.
Vidic was at a friend's home, near the QEW and Mississauga Rd., Saturday afternoon and he ducked out shortly after 5 p.m. to pick up some lumber.
He says he left his dogs locked in the backyard, unaware there was an opening in the fence. When he returned 45 minutes later, his heart sank after noticing his pets were gone.
Vidic said the first inkling his dogs, which were "not pit bulls," were in trouble came when he spotted an animal services van.
"I thought maybe my dogs had been picked up and I'd have to pay a fine," he said.
Vidic said he nearly burst into laughter when the animal services worker told him his dogs had been "aggressive" toward police officers.
But he quickly realized the man was trying to gently break the news to him.
He rushed down the street to Indian Rd. and Cobalt St., but, by the time he arrived, firefighters were "already hosing down the street" where his dogs had been killed.
"I couldn't believe it," Vidic said, explaining he talked briefly to police and then went home dumbfounded after being told his dogs had lunged at officers.
Peel police maintain the dogs, which they mistakenly claimed to be English bull terriers, were terrorizing the neighbourhood and a resident flagged down a passing OPP cruiser for help.
Parents were allegedly scooping their kids up and taking them inside because the dogs were "growling and snarling."
They were also "acting aggressive" toward other dogs, police said.
The officers tried unsuccessfully to "contain" the animals in front of St. Luke Elementary School and, in the end, decided the dogs needed to be "taken down."
The OPP officers opened fire, killing one and wounding the other. The Peel cop had to "finish the job."
Vidic returned to the scene the next day and talked to residents, some of whom told him they heard 15 to 20 shots fired at his dogs.
Steve Devoe, who lives on nearby Indian Grove, said he saw the dogs "playing" in his front yard but he didn't think much of it until he heard officers yelling for him to take his children inside.
Laila Jatoi said she saw Lina and Fancy "walking" in her neighbour's backyard, followed by an officer on foot, as her kids and other visiting children played out back with only a chain-link fence to protect them.
"The dogs weren't barking or anything," she said. "My kids weren't scared of them at all."
Her youngest son, who is four, actually squirted one of the dogs with a watergun, she said. But the dog didn't react at all.
"People were probably more terrified by the gunshots than the dogs," Jatoi said.
Some residents have filed inquiries to police about the shooting.
Moments after arriving in the area Tuesday to share his story with the Sun, two Peel officers showed up and began questioning Vidic, claiming residents has complained about his presence in the neighbourhood — a community he works in every day as a landscaper.
"You're being obsessive," said one officer, who claimed he was working the day the dogs were killed.
He accused Vidic of being in the area "day in and day out" and told him it was in his "best interest to let it go."
"If you come around here again, there will be repercussions," the officer warned, adding Vidic would be charged with trespassing or harassment.