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Officer Shoots Dog During Burglary Chase

January 4, 1985

BREA, Calif. (AP) _ A police officer looking for a burglar broke up a backyard fight between his ″K-9″ dog and a family mutt by fatally shooting the pet in the stomach, then leaving without mentioning it, the family says.

The dog, Dumpy, was found wounded in his doghouse, where he crawled after the shooting. He died on the operating table at North Orange County Emergency Pet Clinic shortly after the shooting Wednesday.

The officer, Ron Gillet, was bitten on the leg by one of the dogs when he tried to stop the dogfight between Dumpy and his police-trained dog, Barney, who was bitten by Dumpy.

A Fullerton police report confirmed that Gillet shot Dumpy with his .38- caliber service revolver when he couldn’t stop the fight, said police Sgt. Rex Stricklin. The department is conducting an internal investigation.

″My wife just can’t stop crying over this thing,″ said homeowner Bob Burdett, a 47-year-old electrician. ″She’s a real animal lover. That dog was just like a child to us.″

Fullerton police said Gillet and Barney were in pursuit of a man suspected of burglarizing offices at Craig Regional Park at about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, and the man escaped. Brea and Fullerton are adjacent communities, and the park borders both.

Although the man was believed to have been in the neighborhood of the Burdetts’ home, no evidence was found that the man had been in their backyard, a police report said.

Burdett’s wife, Mary, was the only family member awake when the shooting occurred. She heard a commotion, someone shouting ″get back″ and threatening to shoot, and then gunfire.

Mrs. Burdett opened a side door and was confronted by an officer.

″He pointed his gun right at me and told me to get back inside. Another officer said to him ’Put that thing away. You’ve done enough,‴ she said, adding that the officer with the gun told her the dog was all right.

″Then they waltzed out of here with their dog and didn’t even shut our gate,″ she said. A few minutes later, she found Dumpy in his doghouse. ″The minute I found him I knew he was hurt real bad.″

Stricklin said a representative from Fullerton visited the Burdetts on Thursday to apologize and to explain how to file a claim against the city.

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