COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Alia Hakim and Cory Brubaker returned home from St. Pat's in Five Points after a fun and entertaining day.
They didn't expect to return home to find their dog had been wounded. Their 2-year-old dog, Buddha, has a bullet hole in his face.
The couple says a Columbia police officer shot Buddha in the face. The bullet shattered some of his teeth, leaving bits of broken tooth and bone lodged in his tongue. Luckily, he survived.
"I can't understand how anybody would want to kill any animal, especially a sweet lab," said Hakim.
The officer responded to the street because a neighbor called police, reporting vicious dogs were on the loose. Buddha and the couple's other dog had left the yard.
In the officer's report of the incident, he states that he stepped out of his car and a dog came up to him, growling and showing his teeth. The officer says he kicked at the dog, but it wouldn't back up. The officer then states he reached for his Taser, but his raincoat got in the way. The officer then states he had to reach for his pistol.
"I heard a gun shot and then right after the gunshot I heard a dog cry," said the couple's neighbor, Danny Gibbons.
Gibbons says he was surprised a gun had to be pulled.
"I've seen that dog that lives here before, it's not a mean dog," said Gibbons.
Hakim doesn't think her dog would be that aggressive toward anyone.
"If he was running up to him, he was running up to him to play or to be pet, not to attack him," said Hakim.
Brubaker has harsh criticism for the officer.
"Maybe he shouldn't be out on the streets if he thinks he can just pull his gun out for anything," said Brubaker.
The Columbia Police Department released the following statement in response to the couple's criticism:
The Columbia Police Department regrets this unfortunate incident as the Department, which currently has nine dedicated K-9s working throughout the City, respects all forms of life. However, in this incident where an officer's safety was an issue, the officer used his service weapon to defend himself.
The couple said they did not know how the dogs got out of the fenced in area.