Kingston Couple Questions Why Police Shot, Killed Their Dog

By Mark Hiller |

Published 05/19 2014 06:11PM

Updated 05/19 2014 11:17PM

Kingston, Luzerne County -- "Why did they just shoot her. They have tasers and mace. Why couldn't they use that? Why did they just shoot her?" A distraught Brianna Ridzon is in disbelief that police shot and killed her two-year-old dog, Gabanna. The female Pit Bull wandered away from the John Street home that Ridzon shares with Mike Casale and the couple's daughter, Ryleigh. They awoke Sunday morning to find their dog missing. They learned later in the day on social media that police put down their pet. "The lady had posted 'Oh my God. They just shot and killed the dog'," said Mr. Casale while Ms. Ridzon added, "They chased her, they cornered her in and just shot her."

Both Ms. Ridzon and Mr. Casale claim their dog was not aggressive by nature but that the police pursuit probably upset her. "Why are you chasing my dog around making it agitated and then you're going to corner it in somebody's yard. What do you think it's going to do? It's going to get defensive so you pull a gun out on it?," sobbed Mr. Casale.

Before police arrived, neighbors apparently tried to help the dog. Eyewitnesses say one neighbor approach Gabanna with a leash while a newspaper carrier tried to calm the dog but in both instances she just backed away and could not be restrained. Before the dog met its fate, Kingston Police Chief Michael Krzywicki says his officers tried to snare the pet multiple times. Neighbors who didn't want to appear on camera witnessed the attempt. "They were trying to get the noose on it but there was no way that that dog was letting them put the noose on it," said one man while a neighborhood woman added, "They did the best they could. Really. I have to applaud them for that."

Chief Krzywicki says his officers spent more than two hours Sunday morning trying to safely capture Gabanna before he gave the order to put down the dog on the loose. "They handled everything the right way. They waited, they gave the dog a chance," said a man who did not want to appear on camera. Still, neighbors wish it could have ended differently. "I was heartbroken. I literally cried," said one woman who did not want to be identified.

Chief Krzywicki declined an Eyewitness News request for an on-camera interview. He did say off-camera that he reviewed the case and determined his officers followed proper procedure while acting with public safety in mind. Chief Krzywicki added that police could not have contacted the SPCA of Luzerne County or a state dog warden because both were unavailable given that it was the weekend.

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