6 Bullets: On New Year’s Day, Police Kill Dog in Own Yard

One minute, Kincaid was living the life of a beloved family pet. The next, he lay dead in his own yard after a police shooting.

Baltimore dog killed by police
Kincaid as a puppy, 2009.

On New Year’s Day morning, Kincaid was living the life of a beloved family pet. Adopted as a sweet pit bull puppy, he lived in a loving home with 3 children in Baltimore.

“[My dog] was loved by the entire neighborhood,” Stacy Fields tells me. “The elderly woman across the street would buy treats just for him and give them to him through the fence.”

He was loved by the children in his own family, and other children in the neighborhood would stop by just to say hello to Kincaid, Stacy says.

Police Chase a Suspect Next Door

On this morning, a domestic dispute occurred across the alley next to Kincaid’s home.

The police were called and when they went to arrest the man involved, he took off through the back door toward Kincaid’s house. The yard was securely fenced, and both the suspect and police hopped the fence into Stacy’s private yard.

Hearing the commotion, the dog went outside, followed by Stacy’s stepfather, and saw the unfamiliar men. Kincaid began barking.

Shot 6 Times

A police officer yelled for the stepfather to control his dog, and the stepfather bent down to take hold of Kincaid’s harness, yet the officer then shot 6 times at the dog.

The first 3 shots missed the dog and the stepfather by only inches. Kincaid was shot 2 times in the head and once in the stomach.

Police told reporters afterward that the shooting was justified, claiming the dog was “aggressive.” Stacy refutes that, saying Kincaid never charged the officers but only barked. “If [the officer] had pulled his mace, Kincaid would still be here,” Stacy told reporters.

Speaking Out

Stacy and her family were devastated and shocked that they were the next victim of a fatal dog shooting.

Her sister set up a Facebook page to help spread the word about the tragedy, and as of this morning it had nearly 7,000 Likes.

Two petitions have been set up, and one of them will be sent to President Obama’s desk if it reaches 25,000 signatures. The primary issue is a lack of police training when it comes to dogs during the line of duty.

Kincaid’s needless death, and the hundreds like it all across the country, are what happens when untrained police officers encounter dogs with preconceived notions — shoot first, ask questions later.

It has to stop now.

 * * *

Update: Kincaid’s story — and so many others like it — inspired us to put together a 5-part special series on police shootings of dogs. In our special series, Stacy Fields wrote a first-person account of what it was like the day her dog was shot dead by a police officer.

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