WYCKOFF, N.J. (AP) — A police officer investigating a report of a home burglary in northern New Jersey mistakenly went to the wrong address and ended up killing a family's dog.
"I was in shock. I couldn't believe it. There was blood everywhere," the dog's owner, Igor Vukobratovic, said.
Wyckoff police received a report of a possible break-in at 621 Lawlins Road on Wednesday. But in a statement, Police Chief Benjamin Fox said Officer Kyle Ferreira went to 622 Lawlins by mistake.
No one answered the front door so the patrolman went around back, entered through an unlocked fence gate and spotted an open window, Fox said. He drew his revolver and approached, and a growling German shepherd lunged out the window, bit the officer's foot and latched on, the chief said.
The officer fired his gun four times, striking the dog twice.
"He has every right to be prepared to defend himself," Fox told NJ.com. "Is a burglary suspect going to come out of that window? ... That dog can do a lot of physical damage to a person if the next bite is an artery."
Ferreira wasn't hurt, but Fox said he is "extremely distraught." He has not been disciplined, but police continue to investigate the shooting.
The family had Otto for five years. "He was a protective dog, but there were never any incidents of him attacking anyone," Vukobratovic said.
The family usually left the window open on warm days for their pet.
Vukobratovic returned from the mall with his cousins and saw the police at his home. Police explained what had happened.
He said he hugged his wounded pet and put Otto on a blanket to help carry him to a vehicle so the dog could be taken to a veterinarian.
The dog was later transferred to an animal hospital, where he died.