WOODBINE--A borough resident whose dog was shot by State Police last week said the officers did not give the family a chance to secure the animal.
The police agency's SWAT team executed a search warrant March 4 at a home on the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue. During the search, police shot the family's pitbull terrier, which was later euthanized by animal control.
Police said an officer shot the animal after it bit the leg of one of the SWAT team members and lunged at the face of another officer.
Neither officer was injured.
Police charged three residents of the home with drug possession. Damian Fashaw, 38, also was charged with drug distribution. Police said they found cocaine and marijuana during the search.
Frances Jefferson, who was not charged, shares the home with her son, Fashaw, and her husband, Ronald.
She said police did not need to shoot their pet, a 5-year-old named Bruno. It was shot in an upstairs bedroom, she said.
"I'm really upset about it. The dog was my granddaughter's playmate. She calls him O. She's only 15 months," Jefferson said.
Jefferson, 58, was not home during the search but said she does not believe the dog would attack anyone. She said police gave her different accounts of what happened.
"They said the dog latched onto his leg. Another said the dog lunged for him. And another said the dog was creeping toward him. That's story No. 3," she said.
Troopers in the Woodbine barracks said a separate review determined the use of force was justified.
Sgt. Stephen Jones, spokesman for the State Police in Trenton, said it was an unfortunate situation but the officers engaged in a tactical entry of the home due to the type of investigation and the targets.
"They feel terrible about it," Jones said. "It's a very sad byproduct of going after a criminal act and the people responsible for it."
State Police in Trenton will conduct an independent review if Jefferson opts to file a complaint.
"They're welcome to make a formal complaint to the State Police. We'll obviously take that very seriously," Jones said.