Protesters March Outside Peoria Police Department; Demand Justice for Pit Bulls

Published 08/31 2014 06:01PM

Updated 09/01 2014 08:03AM

PEORIA - Dog lovers lined the outside of the Peoria Police Station, protesting the alleged shootings of three local pit bulls.

They’re asking for the more humane treatment of animals by police officers after three officers were tied to the deaths of the pit bulls.

The Peoria Police Department says they are already doing what they can to best handle aggressive dogs.

About two-dozen Protestors  stood outside the Peoria Police Department demanding justice for their four-legged friends.

“Makes me good to know other people feel the same way I do and like they support all the other dogs,” said pit bull owner Jace Earp.

According to a Peoria Police report, Earp’s two pit bulls were tased by a police officer after getting loose in his neighborhood and threatening two girls.

Animal control was called first, but it couldn’t subdue the two dogs. So police say they were forced to bring out the taser, which led to the death of Earp’s puppy.

Earps says the cops should have been more careful with his people-loving pup.

“I understand they tried to use non-lethal means. But at the same time it's a one year old puppy,”

Protestors  were also angered by the death of two other central Illinois pit bulls.

The first dog was killed in May when an officer allegedly responded to a noise complaint at a house on Blaine St. in Peoria. According to Protestors , the home owner wouldn’t turn down his music and in order to
get on his property the officer shot his pit bull. The Peoria Police Department wasn’t able to confirm if this story is accurate.

We reported about another pit bull shooting in late August.

Protest organizer and pit bull owner, Marsha Soto, says all this has to stop.

“Their first option should be to use pepper spray. Learn how to use their taser without doing it strong enough,” said Soto.

Peoria Police say it’s not that easy.

“The dogs typically will turn around and be even more angry then they were prior to the tasing and come after the officer,” said Lt Scott Cook, who is also a self described “animal lover.”

Soto says Peoria Police officers aren’t properly trained to handle aggressive dogs.

“Governor Quinn signed it into law on January first that all officers are suppose to have so many hours of verifiable training,” said Soto.

Lt. Cook didn’t mention Quinn’s new law, but did say..

“There’s training that we do during our tactical fire arms instruction with regards to dealing with dogs that are attacking.”

Soto says the protests are far from finished.

They’ll be at the East Peoria Police department on Tuesday.

Soto thinks the officers should be charged with animal cruelty.

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