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It’s a case of bark being worse than bite — for everyone involved.
In a surreal scene that shouldn’t be played out on the cop comedy “Reno 911,” much less the streets of Brooklyn, a tough-talking lady cop allegedly pulled her gun and threatened to shoot a Carroll Gardens woman’s dog when the skittish, loudly barking pooch was found prancing up and down Columbia Street without a leash.
Now the only one barking is the dog’s outraged owner, who reportedly had to talk the police officer out of shooting her beloved pet.
“I’m pissed,” seethed Isabel Rubio, a costume designer who has called Carroll Gardens her home for the last two years. “My dog wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just walking up and down the street.”
Rubio and her four-legged friend Danny were about to go back into her apartment near Sackett Street on the morning of July 8 when the sound of a local merchant pulling up his metal security shutters frightened the medium-sized lab mix.
Danny, a shelter dog who had been abandoned in the woods as a puppy, ducked out of his leash and scampered off, trying to escape the noise.
Rubio said she was trying to calmly approach the dog, as a trainer had instructed her to do, when a police cruiser pulled up to her.
Three female police officers bounded out of the car and ordered Rubio to leash her pet, she said.
“Believe it or not, that’s what I’m doing,” she remembered saying.
One of the officers didn’t believe her sincerity and pulled her gun, according to Rubio. The officer’s colleagues did the same, she said.
But the first cop didn’t just keep her gun at her side as the others did, according to Rubio.
When Rubio failed to wrangle Danny into custody, the officer allegedly raised the gun and threatened to “put a bullet” through the animal if it tried to jump on anyone.
Rubio said she asked the officer to put her gun away for fear of accidentally shooting anyone.
“I won’t miss,” the cop coldly responded, according to Rubio’s recollection.
Tensions flared and threatened to blister when Danny, apparently scared of the approaching cop, offered up several loud barks.
The dog never snarled or snapped, Rubio said.
While the cops ultimately gave her enough latitude to grab Danny, Rubio was stunned by the confrontation, especially since the entire ordeal took less than two minutes.
“This could have been a kid with a baseball bat or a woman with a shovel in her garden,” she said. “Just because you have a gun does not give you the right to become a lethal weapon.”
Since the near shooting, Rubio, who received a summons for having an unleashed dog, has been in talks with administrators from the 76th Precinct about her ordeal. She has also filed a complaint against the female cop with the Civilian Complaint Review Board for excessive force and verbal bullying.
“[These officers] need more training,” she said. “The next time they think of pulling a gun I want them to remember that they are going to have this on their record.”
Captain Kenneth Corey, the commanding officer of the 76th Precinct, could not comment on the case because it was still being investigated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
According to some police sources, the officer involved may have been on edge because another area cop was attacked by a dog a few days earlier in Manhattan.
Dog attacks against police are common, said a source, who added that just last month a pit bull bit a Canarsie cop in the leg when the officer tried to get the animal off the roof of an apartment building. The cop’s partner was forced to shoot and kill the animal. The owner was arrested.
“When they drove into the scene, all they see is a dog running wild on the street,” said a source close to the case, who said that the dog was growling as well as barking. “If this account is accurate, then they were well within department guidelines to pull their weapons.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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