Site hosted by Build your free website today!

by OUR DOGS Chief Reporter, NICK MAYS, 9th March 2001

POLICE OFFICERS IN Dortmund gunned down a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross which allegedly bit a smaller dog in a public park, leaving the wounded animal to bleed in the street for 40 minutes until a vet administered a lethal injection.

The Staffie named 'Apollo' is alleged to have run up to Klara Schramma, 60, as she was walking her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 'Charlie' in the park. Frau Schramma said that Apollo grabbed the Cavalier and ran off with him across the park, but that Charlie was unharmed due to he calling out to him to "play dead." This supposedly confused the Stafford long enough to allow two armed police officers to approach and pump at least six shots into the animal's body, using Walter 7.62 pistols with ammunition deigned to remain within the body of the target.

At least one shot went wide of the dog and hit the wall of an apartment block bordering the park, narrowly missing a kitchen window where two women were standing.

Although the dog was fatally wounded and unable to walk - one shot having penetrated its head, just below the eye, the police placed a catchpole around its neck to restrain it, and allowed press photographers and a local TV news camera crew to film it.

Eventually a female vet arrived and administered a lethal injection. This failed to take effect, so fifteen minutes later she administered another dose, which finally released the dog from its suffering. Local council workers then removed the dog's body.

According to the official police statement, the Crossbreed was unaccompanied by its owner, but was discovered to be microchipped, which would lead them to the owner, who faced possible prosecution for allowing Apollo to stray and behave aggressively in public.

The next day, the German newspapers were full of gruesome; full-colour photographs of the dying dog, and pictures of the courageous Charlie and his owner. BILD newspaper ran its usual 'Fighting Dog' hysterical headlines, describing Apollo as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, rather than a 'mix' or 'crossbreed' and seemed to celebrate the fact that a dog had been gunned down. A TV news programme staged a theatrical reconstruction of the attack, with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier being made to bare its teeth, doubling as Apollo in attack mode, although the dog was clearly not snarling. Frau Schramma spoke at length about her horror at the ordeal, and showed how well trained Charlie was, by telling him to play dead. The owner of a Staffie spoke, explaining how good natured the breed usually was, and how hers was restrained with muzzle and lead, although the caption described her as a 'Fighting Dog' owner.

The immigrant owner of the apartment which was hit by the stray bullets pointed to a hole in the exterior wall, saying how dangerous the whole incident was and that the police had been 'trigger happy'.

The news of the incident prompted outrage from campaigners fighting against the German anti-dog laws and Breed Specific legislation around the world, with photographs of Apollo placed on the DogHolocaust website. Complaints were lodged with the Dortmund police about their tactics.

Leading anti-BSL campaigner Gabi Woiwode from Bavaria told OUR DOGS: "There are many varieties of answers and many versions of this story, none of which is making sense. The owner of the Spaniel tells the version that Apollo ran off with her dog in his mouth. She yelled at her doggie to "play dead" which he did and Apollo threw him away. She said he learned to play dead in the dog school.

"I already asked at the Internet guestbook of the Dortmund police for the address of the dog school that teaches a dog to play dead that perfectly that he even can follow this order in a moment of acute life danger. And all this so very perfectly, that he does not only look like a dead dog, but also SMELLS like a dead one."

Woiwode concludes:" In the end, as many versions as we have - I never read that they had to shoot to get the Spaniel free or that Apollo still was close to the Spaniel when the police arrived."

Official Statement from the Pressroom of the Dortmund Police Department,
Press Office, Police chief Dortmund,
Markgrafenstraße 102, 44139 Dortmund
Tel.: 0231/132-9020 - 25 | Fax: 0231/132-9027 u. - 9028 |
POL (internal line) 07 441 9020 - 25

20.02.2001, 09.47 am

Dortmund-Nordstadt, Schützenstraße, local park over to Leibnitzstraße Use of gun against biting Staffordshire Terrier: Tuesday 20.02.2001 about 9.47am the police in Dortmund was alerted to the presence of an off lead fighting dog in the area of a local park between Schützenstraße and Leibnizstraße. According to the caller the fighting dog was very aggressive.

When the police arrived the animal had locked its jaws into a smaller dog. As further danger to the public couldn't be excluded and there was no way of catching the aggressive dog the officers decided to use their weapons. The area around the local park was cordoned off, to avoid endangering passers by. Then the police opened fire on the fighting dog. The animal was badly injured and ran off in direction Schuetzenstrasse where it collapsed. The vet who had been called put the injured animal to sleep using two injections. The animal was sent off to the Vet Office.

The owner of the small dog, a 60 year old lady from Dortmund, collapsed and had to be treated at the scene. Her dog was checked over by the vet at the scene but didn't show any serious injuries.

The owner of the fighting dog wasn't present at the scene so further investigations by police and local authority regarding who owned them and was in breach of duty to keep the dog under control are necessary. The Staffordshire Terrier did have a chip implanted, which will lead to the owner.

According to the town of Dortmund measures against the dog owner can range from charge for breach of public order to a ban on keeping dogs.

Copyright (c) Nick Mays/OUR DOGS 2001