A suburban dog owner says bodycam footage shows a police officer calling his dog over before using a stun gun on the beloved pet.
Daniel Villanueva knows the stigma against pit bulls, but he said his 91-pound pit is anything but that.
“He’s a sweetheart, a gentle giant,” Villanueva said, noting that concerns surrounding the breed are “not the breed - it’s the owner.”
That’s why he was shocked when he learned earlier this month that his 3-year-old dog Kron had been Tased by an Elgin police officer right in front of Villanueva’s 10-year-old niece.
Villanueva said his 5-year-old nephew accidentally left a door open and the dog was outside with his niece.
“[The officer] showed up on the scene, whistled the dog over and I guess he got scared, backed up and pulled a Taser, shot our dog in the face,” Villanueva said. “When he backs up into the street he pulls a Taser and shoots the dog right in the face and the dog fell back, starts crying, runs in the house.”
The incident was caught on body camera footage, which was recently released.
"The officer observed a loose dog and stopped his vehicle. While trying to ascertain the dog's demeanor and owner at a safe distance, he was approached in an aggressive manner,” Acting Chief Al Young said in a statement.
Footage showed the officer whistling at the dog while telling the girl he needed to be on a leash. Soon after, the dog appears to run toward the officer, who then stuns the animal.
“I’m pretty sure he just reacted. And by [the officer] backing up quick and jittery, the dog probably thought that he was playing,” Villanueva said, noting that Kron’s tail was wagging at the time.
Villanueva wasn’t at the home at the time of the incident, but said he arrived minutes after he got a call that something had happened.
“I go inside, I see my dog, I see blood everywhere,” he said. “His tongue was hit from one of the prongs and one was still stuck under his eye on his face and I couldn’t get it out…There was so much blood coming out of his tongue. I had no way of getting it out until I took him to the vet.”
Villanueva said he grew more concerned when he saw the footage because his niece was standing near the dog at the time the stun gun was used. He said the incident was traumatizing for the young girl.
“I am grateful that it was a Taser and not a gun,” Villanueva said. “[The officer] Tased him right in front of my niece. If the Taser would have missed and hit her that could have been real bad.”
Villanueva was ultimately issued two tickets following the incident – one for not having his dog on a leash and a second for his dog nearly attacking an officer, which Villanueva disputes. He is expected to appear in court Friday.
“The Elgin Police Department has policies in place as to how to address loose and dangerous dogs. We believe our officer was within that policy though a review is being conducted of the entire incident,” Young said in a statement.