Dog Dies After Being Shot by CHP Officer Doing a Welfare Check
That day, Lillie Wood, the dog’s owner made a fateful decision. She took the Stafford exit off Hwy 101 south of Rio Dell and turned right onto the quiet dead end road where said she often stopped to let her dog out.
There she opened the back door so Chloe, her American Bulldog could get in and out of the back seat. Chloe had been adopted by Wood in December of 2014 from the Santa Barbara Animal Shelter.
Meanwhile, Wood returned and sat behind the steering wheel of her car and closed her door. Wood, who has no permanent address at the moment, said she looked terrible because she’d recently “been jumped by two girls” in Rio Dell.
While she was parked, she said a man drove up and asked if she was okay. She told him she was fine.
According to Wood, she was told later that he called to request law enforcement do a welfare check on her.
About 4:30 p.m., a California Highway Patrol officer drove up and parked behind Wood’s car. Wood said she did not hear it. Chloe, however, must have because, according to Wood, she “stepped out” and began barking.
“I open the door,” Wood said. “By the time I turn around, he’s shooting her. I heard a series of shots…I’m standing behind the open back door. I see my dog on the ground…She’s bloody….She has a protrusion on the back of her spine like a bullet went through the top.” Wood said that Chloe was wailing.
Wood said that the officer asked something like, “Ma’am, are you hit? Are you okay?”
According to Wood, at that point, she begged the officer to kill Chloe to put her out of her suffering.The dog began dragging herself to Wood’s car. “Chloe makes it to safety,” Wood said. She managed to get her front half into the vehicle but collapsed partially in and out.
Wood said the officer told her to put Chloe inside and close the door.
“I can’t. My dog is bleeding,” she said she replied.
“Ma’am, shut the door,” Wood said the officer told her.
Eventually, Wood got her wounded, 100-pound dog into the car and closed the door at the officer’s request.
“I’m throwing up and freaking out,” she explained. “She has never bit anyone. She’s a family dog. She’s the most amazing dog ever. I trust her with kids, kittens, whatever…She was probably wagging her tail while she was barking [at the officer.]”
According to Wood, the officer started walking around her car. She said he discovered that he had shot the open passenger door which was behind where she sat in the driver’s seat.“He shot the open door and it ricochetted through the car and knocked out the passenger side rear window,” she said. “The bullet had to go through the car.”
“Ma’am, I’m going to get your dog to vet,” Wood said the officer told her. “He [was] calling and calling and calling,” she said.
Wood said the officer told her that they couldn’t take Chloe to the vet because once he fired off his weapon, neither of them can leave.
At this point, Wood believed that Chloe would be okay if they could get her to a vet. “I thought she was going to live,” she explained. “She was still breathing.”
Though other officers and medical personnel arrive, Wood said, they have to wait because they want to put Chloe in a vehicle with a partition.
“They had to get a caged car,” she said. “They won’t go near the dog. They make me move her…She’s panting frantically.”
But Wood said, Chloe “never acted aggressively” towards the officers
According to scanner traffic, at a little after 5 p.m. Chloe is on her way to the Sunnybrae vet’s office.
“They take her to Arcata only to call me and tell me that she isn’t going to make it,” Wood said.
According to Wood, she learned the officer fired seven shots. Six of the bullet casings were recovered at the time, she said. Later, she said she discovered one in her vehicle.
What started out as an attempt to help an injured woman went tragically awry, said Wood. “This wasn’t a criminal stop. I was fine until they showed up.”
Now she is left without her beloved pet and with expensive bills.
“I’m 37,” said Wood. “I don’t have any kids. [Chloe] was my best friend….Who is going to pay for my vet bill and my window?
On the other hand, said CHP Sgt Martin Abshire, “This [situation] is something officers hope to avoid our entire careers.” He said this is a tragedy for Wood and for the officer. An investigator is looking into the shooting, he explained. “Let the objective fact finders find the facts and then we’ll weigh this against the policies [to determine whether there was any wrongdoing on the officer’s or on the dog owner’s part.]”
Though as he stated earlier, “We have collected evidence that it was a pretty aggressive action on the part of the dog.”
After the investigation, he said, there will be a determination on who is financially responsible for the car and the window as well as if there is any other action needing to be taken.