OAKLAND -- The family whose 11-year-old Labrador was shot and killed earlier this week by Oakland police responding to a burglary alarm plan to cremate and bury their pet in their backyard.
At least three people have contacted the police department, offering to give Labrador puppies to the family, spokesman Jeff Thomason.
But even such kind offers won't make up for the loss of the arthritic yellow Lab, Gloria, whose owners say was gentle and had never bitten anyone. The family named her Gloria because she was born on Christmas Eve.
"It would be very hard to replace her," said the dog's owner, Mary Kate Hallock.
Police responding to a burglar alarm at the home Tuesday said the dog growled and
Gloria's owner, Mary Kate Hallock, said the shooting happened while she was running errands, and she arrived home to find a blue note on the door from police, which said that the dog had "advanced on officers in a threatening manner."
"I read the note eight or 10 times and it just doesn't make sense to me," she said.
Hallock said her children, Matthew, 15, and Isabel, 11, are distraught.
"Isabel was pretty shocked and outraged. "... She couldn't eat dinner, she couldn't sleep, she was very distraught," Hallock said.
"Both kids keep having the sense of
The family had a chance to say their goodbyes Wednesday when Hallock's husband, Ward Hallock, picked up the dog's remains.
"So we could have closure," Mary Kate Hallock said. "We will get her remains and bury her in the backyard."
Thomason defended the officers' actions, saying the dog was charging and growling at the officers who had no way of knowing if the dog had any health problems or was a friendly animal.
Thomason said the department's policy when it comes to dealing with animals at a possible crime scenes provides officers with several options such as using pepper spray, a Taser or shooting an animal if it threatens officers.
Police had responded to a ringing alarm at the home on Burgos Avenue in the Oakland hills around noon Tuesday. Finding nobody home, they set up a perimeter and requested backup, which included a canine unit, to do a search.
"The other options weren't available because the dog appeared so quickly," Thomason said. "The officers did not just leave the scene after the shooting as is being portrayed in reports. They only left the note after trying for about an hour to find a contact phone number for the family by looking inside the house and by contacting neighbors."
He said the family apparently arrived home a few hours later, found the note and called the sergeant who wrote the message.
"He explained what happened to them, and they seemed to be all right with it," Thomason said.
"We don't want to go into a situation and shoot a family pet. Our hearts go out to the family. But when you have a situation with a possible burglary with a door open and a dog coming toward the officer, our policy is that if the officer feels he might be bitten or hurt, we have the option to shoot."
The incident will be reviewed by the department's use-of-force board to see if it met with existing policy. Police did not release the name of the officer, who has not been placed on leave.
Ward Hallock said he's not looking to press charges against the department.
"We're not here to cause problems for the Oakland police," Hallock said. "We're here to cease any future engagements like what happened Tuesday."
Chief Anthony Batts called the incident "unfortunate" and said that the department would review its policy of dealing with family pets.
"The end result is not something we wanted, and my heart goes out to the family who has lost their dog," Batts said. "We are investigating the incident to ensure that proper policies and procedures were followed and evaluating possible ways to improve outcomes related to future contacts with animals."
In May, Oakland police officers came under scrutiny after shooting and killing a deer in an East Oakland backyard. As a result of that incident, the policy on shooting wildlife was changed and the supervising sergeant was demoted to officer.
The officer who shot the deer was suspended.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.