Minneapolis SWAT team kills one dog, wound another during arrest in St. Paul

Police say the dogs charged at them when they entered the house.
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Blu, the dog killed in the SWAT team raid.

Blu, the dog killed in the SWAT team raid.

One dog was shot dead and another was wounded by a Minneapolis police SWAT team executing an arrest warrant at a St. Paul home.

Warning: This story contains a graphic image.

The incident happened at a home on Bush Avenue on Tuesday, when Minneapolis police executed a "high risk" warrant as part of a felony weapons investigation.

As police suspected the target of the raid would be armed, the Minneapolis SWAT team was called in to carry out the warrant.

In the course of the raid, in which two men were arrested and a loaded handgun, ammunition and drug paraphernalia were seized, officers opened fire on two dogs, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

Owner Jennifer Hankerson told the Star Tribune that her 1-year-old pit bull Blu was killed, and Blu's 3-year-old father Conan suffered injuries including a shattered eye socket, broken leg, and internal bleeding.

She has created a GoFundMe page to raise the money to cover the $2,500 in veterinary bills she's already incurred to treat Conan's injuries.

Both Hankerson and her niece, Victoria LaQuier, told the Strib they think police used excessive and unnecessary force in shooting their dogs, saying they have signs in their front window and on one of their fences warning people about the dogs inside.

The injury inflicted on Conan, who suffered a shattered eye socket.

The injury inflicted on Conan, who suffered a shattered eye socket.

Police went to the house looking for LaQuier's boyfriend, who was one of those arrested in the raid.

In a statement sent to BMTN on Thursday, Minneapolis police spokesperson Sgt. Darcy Horn said that officers opened fire when two of the dogs "ran directly at the officers."

"The officers were forced to fire at these two aggressive dogs to protect themselves from what appeared to be imminent harm. The two dogs that were charging were very close to the officers when fired upon."

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This is not the first time Minneapolis PD has come under scrutiny for killing family pets in the process of carrying out home searches. 

Last year, a police officer shot two dogs in the garden of a home after a burglar alarm was accidentally tripped.

Sgt. Horn said planning and preparation before a raid can prevent "an animal dispatch" during high-risk warrants.

"But it cannot guarantee it will not become necessary, as it was in this case unfortunately," she added.

"The MPD SWAT team makes every attempt to not dispatch an animal whenever possible; as we value the lives of animals."

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