Family dog shot in yard by El Monte police officer

EL MONTE, Calif.

The family told Eyewitness News they contacted the El Monte Police Department after their 14-year-old son ran away from home. Officers came to the house to get a picture of the boy -- but the family told them to call ahead of time so they could put away their two dogs. They say police never contacted them and ignored a "beware of dog" on the front gate.

"They just came in our door without calling us or anything and then our dog ran up to the police and the police shot it," said Chi Nguyen, 11.

An El Monte police officer shot the family's 2-year-old German shepherd on Wednesday.

Winston Nguyen, Chi's father, says the officers never stopped to check the yard for the family's two dogs, despite two "beware of dog" signs warning of their presence.

In home-security video, officers are seen walking up to the gate, opening it and continuing toward the front door.

At one point one of the officers pats the head of the family's pit bull, "Rascal," then walks back to shut the gate.

That's when "Kiki," the German shepherd, comes charging out from around the corner, barking at the officer at the front door. A moment later the dog is shot.

Nguyen says the officer told him Kiki was about to attack, but he disputes those claims.

"My dad and I, we took the dog to the hospital but then it was too expensive so we just put her to sleep," said Nguyen.

Nguyen says at first the police department offered to pay for the veterinary bill, but after learning it would cost $7,000, the offer was rescinded.

"She was telling us 'It was just a gift from a friend, just buy a new one,' and then my mom starting complaining that you just can't say that cause the dog is still part of our family," said Nguyen.

Eyewitness News contacted the El Monte Police Department about the incident.

In a statement a city spokesperson said: "The incident is being treated as a officer-involved shooting and is under investigation. As such, the city cannot comment on this matter."

The 14-year-old son has been in contact with the family. He is staying with a friend.

An uncle dropped off a Chihuahua puppy to help the family deal with their loss.

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