Dash cam video shows an Indiana cop shooting a family dog named Pork Chop after the cop ignored a “Beware of Dog” sign and entered the yard.
The video shows two young boys tossing a football in the yard as Mishawaka police officer Franklin Ennis shoots the dog, which police describe as a pit bull, but its owner says was not a pit bull.
The cop was also wearing a body cam, but police claim the battery had died before the shooting. He said he noticed the Beware of Dog sign, but didn’t think much of it because he rattled the gate and no dog appeared.
The shooting took place on October 25, although Mishawaka police said they couldn’t release the video until an internal affairs investigation was completed, according to wsbt.com.
The video begins showing Mishawaka cop Franklin Ennis approaching the family’s home after police received a call about a runaway boy.
Ennis walks up to two boys, asking them questions about the runaway boy.
“He was playing right here?” asks Ennis.
“No, he was playing in the street,” responds one of the boys.
Ennis decides to knock on the family’s door, which had a “Beware of dog” sign posted and shakes the fence attempting to flush the dog out in case it’s hiding in the yard.
“I took hold of the gate and moved it a little,” Ennis wrote in his police report.
Ennis knocks several times on the door, but nobody answers.
After his third attempt knocking, a dog runs towards him from the side of the house and Ennis fires a single shot, killing the dog.
The dog had been released by the owner from the back door, who comes walking around the front of the house behind the dog.
“Oh no you didn’t,” the dog owner says to Ennis. “Oh, tell me you didn’t just kill that dog. Aw, Chopper. Aw, man. No.”
“Man, you call some help right now,” says the owner.
“Sir, I am getting somebody here ok?” Ennis assures the dog’s owner, apologizing.
“I am so sorry.”
As more officers arrive on-scene, one can be heard attempting to calm officer Ennis.
“Just take a deep breath,” the cop says to Ennis. “You did what you had to do.”
Officer Ennis wrote in his police report that a Pit Bull baring its teeth with low posture made him think the dog would attack him.
“As I made my way from the front door, I saw a dog that had the appearance of a Pitbull terrier […] The dog was baring its teeth at me, barking at me, and charging at me,” Ennis wrote.
But the dog’s owner said John Wise said Pork Chop was not a pit bull and that he lost a member of his family.
Wise’s neighbor Karen Hulett was skeptical about Mishawaka’s police report and doesn’t understand why officer Ennis would enter the yard without seeing the runaway anywhere.
“My boys, they’re 9 and autistic, and they play down here like every day,” she said. “Dylan actually would go up to the fence and be like ‘come here come here’ because he wanted to play with it but he wouldn’t actually touch the dog.”
“He was nice and he didn’t really bark a lot unless you came into his yard,” Hulett said.
Mishawaka police said Ennis reacted the only way he could, even though two young boys were throwing a football back and forth just a few feet away from where Ennis shot Pork Chop.
“He was nice and he didn’t really bark a lot unless you came into his yard,” she said.
Hulett also said Pork Chop was not a pit bull.
“It did not look like a pit bull. That dog is harmless and I feel like it died in vain,” Hulett said adding that it shouldn’t matter what type of dog Pork Chop was.
“They should have the same remorse for it, the K9 dog, a dog’s dog, a family member’s family member; doesn’t matter what kind of dog or if they’re on the police force or not.”
Hulett expressed concern Ennis about Ennis shooting his gun in a front yard where two small children were playing.
“My kids are stuck in the house. The officer should have his gun revoked, at least for a couple months.”
But Mishawaka police say officer Ennis reacted the only way he could.
“It was a 52-and-a-half pound dog, running at full speed at him. His only course of action was to react. He didn’t really have time to think. A reasonable police officer would have acted the same way,” explained Mishawaka Assistant Chief Jason Stefaniak.
Ennis was taken off patrol, but was back in a few days after Mishawaka police completed their internal investigation.
In September, we reported about a lawsuit settled on behalf of Ava Ellis who was 4-years-old in 2015 when Ohio cop Johnathan Thomas tried to shoot her dog, but missed and shot her in the leg instead, shattering the bone in her leg, which required several surgeries.
PINAC Investigator Researcher Felipe Hemming contributed to this report.