Community Looks For Answers In Police Shooting Death of German Shepherd

Jean Strong |

Residents in Wyckoff, New Jersey are looking for answers from the police department in the shooting death of a five year old German Shepherd named Otto.

Patrolman Kyle Ferreira responded to a burglary call on Lawlins Road. The call was for 621 Lawlins Road and Ferreira went to 622 instead. The Vukobratovic family who live at that address spoke about the love both they and their community held for the dog Otto.

“Otto was more than just our dog, he was this community’s dog,” said Igor Vukobratovic. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m sad, and I was hoping someone would do something right. I have nothing against the police, but I don’t know how an officer shooting his gun and then no investigation is done.”

According to the police, Ferreira went into the backyard of the home through an unlocked fence gate. He saw an open window where he surmised the burglar had entered the house. He claimed that a “large, growling” German Shepherd leaped through the window and attacked him. He said the dog bit his right boot and would not let go. He drew his weapon and fired four times, missing twice and hitting Otto twice. Otto didn’t die on the spot, he suffered until he was able to be taken to the veterinarian and euthanized.

Police Chief Benjamin Fox acknowledged that Patrolman Kyle Ferreira should not have been on the Lawlins Road property at all. Mayor Kevin Rooney spoke with state Senator Kevin O’Toole and asked him to assist in the investigation of the incident. The Vukobratovic family and several witnesses have a very different story than the police do. According to the Facebook page Justice for Otto:

“During the late afternoon on Wednesday, 4/29/15, the owner of 621 Lawlins Rd. noticed some unusual damage to a window in their home. Having a newborn in the house and not wanting to cause any immediate alarm, the neighbor visited the Wyckoff Police Department in order to file a report. He was told to expect an officer within the hour.

When patrolman Kyle Ferreria and his partner arrived at the scene, they responded incorrectly to the dispatch address of 621, and instead pulled up in front of 622 Lawlins Rd., the Vukobratovic residence. The neighbors, quietly waiting for the police, knew something was wrong the moment they directed their attention to the incorrect house. They were unable to get the attention of the officers before patrolman Ferreria proceeded down the driveway, entered the gated backyard, and fired four times at Otto, who had entered the backyard from inside the house once he heard the gate close.

Patrolman Ferreria missed two of his shots, and the other two hit Otto in the side and back. Otto limped across the yard, leaving a trail of blood from where he was shot to the side of the house, where he laid, desperately trying to get inside to protect himself. He was taken to Oradell Animal Hospital where despite the efforts of the doctors, he succumbed to his injuries and died.

Following the incident, the Wyckoff Police Department have made no effort to apologize or offer condolences to the Vukobratovic’s, going so far as defending the officers actions as necessary as he was in “great danger.”

Otto was not a trained “attack dog” – he was an obedient family pet with a loving, playful, friendly disposition.

The ever-changing excuses of Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox claim the officer observed an open window, believed a burglary was in progress, and therefore drew his weapon in preparation for an intruder. However, casings found at the scene show Patrolman Ferreira made all of his shots from the first few feet of the yard, a vantage point that makes it impossible to see any windows of the home.

Witnesses, having an unobscured view of the yard, corroborate this discrepancy, stating the officer went from his car to the yard to firing his gun within a matter of seconds, hitting Otto before he ever got close to him, making an “attack” on the part of the dog impossible.

Chief Fox wrote a letter to county prosecutor John Molinelli, saying that he and his department have been accuse of the covering up the facts and that the incident had left him distraught. Social media has also responded to the incident. Many Facebook users are sick and tired of instance after instance of police shooting and killing family dogs, sometimes with no provocation or reason. Activist groups estimate that a family pet is killed on an average of one every hour. These pets include cats, birds, and miniature horses.

“These pieces of human excrement killed an innocent dog and are doing everything in their power to cover it up,” a user posted on the offending department’s Facebook page.

The Vukobratovic family has received letters of support from people all over the world. A Justice for Otto Facebook page has been founded as well. As of this writing the family has received no justice and no answers.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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