Dog details emerge

Owner hires attorney, plans to sue Cd'A Police Department

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Arfee, a 2-year-old black Labrador, was shot and killed Wednesday by a Coeur d'Alene Police officer in the parking lot of Java on Sherman. The dog's owner, Craig Jones, is pursuing legal action against the department.

COEUR d'ALENE - When Craig Jones went to a Sherman Avenue coffee house for breakfast Wednesday, his 2-year-old black Labrador, Arfee, was by his side.

He parked his car in the parking lot behind Java on Sherman - so Arfee could have shade - and made sure to leave the window halfway down before going inside to eat.

When his meal was over, Jones walked back to his car and noticed the window was broken.

"The lady across the street was all distraught and trying to fill me in. I thought maybe somebody punched the window to get him out because they thought he was hot," Jones said. "She's like, 'No, no they shot him, can't you see the blood?' Then I started looking and just about passed out."

During the 30 minutes Jones was inside the coffee house, a Coeur d'Alene police officer, responding to reports of a "suspicious van possibly watching young children," fired one shot through the window and killed the dog.

"I didn't even know if he was still alive. They took him (Arfee) and left me a note, a card, on my windshield. No police officer in sight," Jones said. "This guy just wounded me so deeply. This will never go away. This was my best friend."

When he contacted the police department by phone to inquire about the incident, Jones said he waited for more than an hour for someone to call him back, unsure whether or not the dog was alive.

"I was like, 'If my dog's still alive I need to take him to a vet.' No call, no call," Jones said. "Then finally they said, 'Oh your dog is heading to the humane society and he will either be frozen for you to pick him up or we will pay to have him cremated.'"

Jones, who is from Coeur d'Alene originally but now lives in Colorado, told The Press that he is in town for a "couple of weeks" due to the death of his mother. Arfee, Jones said, went everywhere with him and was the "smiling face" that made it easier to deal with the loss of his mother.

On Thursday, Jones said he hired an attorney to represent him in a lawsuit against the police department.

"I won't have peace of mind unless I set this right," Jones said. "There's no way I can just return to Colorado without my dog. I was planning on moving back up here actually and was just going to go back to get my stuff. But something like this is such a catastrophic thing in my life that I don't know where I can go to escape it. There's going to be a cloud over my head for a long time."

Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Ron Clark released a written statement Thursday stating that the department will be investigating the incident for "policy and legal compliance."

"We understand the grief that the family is dealing with due to the loss of their pet," Clark wrote. "We also understand the distress this has caused for citizens. The officer who shot the dog is also distraught over this incident."

The statement acknowledged that the department's initial report identifying the dog as a pit bull was incorrect and stated the department "had a veterinarian examine the dog and it has been identified as a Lab mix."

Clark wrote that, because the department is receiving voicemail and email threatening the officer and other department members, the name of the officer involved would not be released Thursday. However, a police spokesperson confirmed that the officer has not been placed on administrative leave.

Coeur d'Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer said Thursday that there would be a "complete and thorough" review of the shooting.

"The city takes incidents like this extremely seriously and will examine all aspects of what happened and if correct procedures were followed," Widmyer said. "When the review is complete, the findings will be made public."

Authorities would not comment as to whether or not Arfee was able to get out of the vehicle to "lunge" at the officer, which was reported in the police department's initial press release describing the incident.

Craig Jones' daughter, Aaliyah, holds a young Arfee.

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