By Paul Bisceglio
A police officer shot and killed a pit bull in the East Village at approximately 4:25 p.m. on Monday.
The officer was one of four to respond to a call to check on the dog’s owner, who appeared to be passed out on a sidewalk at 14th Street and 2nd Avenue in front of a KFC. When the officer attempted to wake up the man, the dog allegedly lunged at him, and he opened fire.
Neighboring businesses, friends and residents at the scene told DNAinfo that the man had come to the U.S. from Poland, and that he and his dog frequented that corner. He was 29 years old, suffered from epilepsy and had frequent seizures, they said.
A witness who called himself a friend of the unconscious man told the Local East Village that the man is known as Pollock and that the dog was named Star.
An East Village resident on the scene said to Gothamist that at first the officers were “not aggressive” towards the man or the dog. “The dog was barking very loudly, as though it were protecting its turf,” the resident said. The officers sprayed mace at the dog, according to the resident, then shot it when it advanced towards them.
“There were a lot of people around, and I didn’t hear them tell anyone to clear off,” the resident told Gothamist. “There was a little boy closer to the scene with his dad, and he started bawling.”
Chef Eddie Huang tweeted a photo of the incident, and told the Observer that “everyone around was like: Put the dog out of its misery. The cops left this dog wiggling and flaying, blood coming out of its mouth. They shot it in front of a public bus.”
“He was protecting the owner, like what animals do. He doesn’t know any better, he’s a dog,” a witness told NY1. “They could have handled it differently, rather than shooting the dog.
“I talked to the cop afterwards,” said another witness to NY1. “He was very shaken up. He’s a dog lover and it ruined his week, if not his year. And he did what he had to do to protect himself.”
The unconscious man and the police officer were both transported to local hospitals following the incident, an FDNY spokesperson told DNAinfo.
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