Bed-Stuy resident Laura Stephen took her six-year-old pit bull mix Ziggy out for a walk Sunday night but did not return home with him.
Stephen, a fashion executive, was walking Ziggy off-leash in a park by the corner of Macon Street and Saratoga Avenue around 7pm when two police officers approached, Gothamist reports.
Assuming that the officers were going to tell her to leash Ziggy, Stephen summoned the dog over to her. One of the officers “reacted quickly” she says, and the dog turned toward them, prompting one of the cops to pull out his gun and shoot Ziggy twice.
The NYPD reports that the officers say the dog “lunged” at them, though according to Stephen, the cops were approximately 12 feet away from her dog.
According to witnesses, dozens of cops responded to the scene, cordoning off the area. Stephen called her son who rushed over from Williamsburg to assist his mother, but was allegedly pushed against a tree by officers when he arrived on the scene, then detained and handcuffed, according to multiple witnesses.
After lying on the sidewalk and bleeding for approximately 45 minutes, police finally transported Ziggy to an emergency veterinary hospital where he died later that night.
To make the situation worse, after Ziggy died, a female office gave Stephen a summons for walking her dog without a leash, according to Gothamist.
Stephen rescued Ziggy in 2012 after finding him on the street in Bushwick. She and several neighbors say he was gentle and not aggressive.
According to the NYC Parks Department, some designated park areas allow dogs to be off-leash from the time the park opens until 9:00am and from 9:00pm until the park closes.
Neighbors have created a makeshift memorial for the dog at the corner of the park.
Rest in peace, Ziggy.