BODY CAM VIDEO RELEASED: Local family of slain pit bull speaks out

Posted at 7:00 PM, Mar 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 20:57:03-04

A Lampasas family is speaking about the police officer who shot and killed their pit bull that bit him Wednesday afternoon.

Derrick Cunningham and his wife Lisa Danda said their pit bull Nina bit Sergeant Tony Barrio because he got too close to her three week old puppies. 

They said if Nina would have attacked Barrio, he would have walked away with serious injuries.

According to a press release Sgt. Barrio was treated on the scene for a single bite wound by Acadian Ambulance and at a nearby hospital. 

On Wednesday at 3 p.m.  Barrio responded to a house at 903 Campbell St. after a 9-1-1 hangup call.

While waiting for one of the residents to come back outside, the officer moved to the right. What he didn't know was he was just feet away from Nina's puppies.

The video shows the pit bull running towards Barrio barking and then she bites him on the buttock.

 "All she knows is to protect her family, her territory, Danda said. "That is her home. this is her family that is all."

That's when he  shot the dog with his handgun.

 "As quick as you pulled that gun, you could have pulled that taser just as fast or the baton," Cunningham said. 

"Steel toe boots," Danda said.  "Give her a kick I would take a broken leg over her lifeless body. 

Cunningham said 4-year-old Nina was one of three pit bulls on the property and they were never aggressive. Nina a family member who grew up around children and was the opposite of vicious.

"This little girl right here, she could jump in Nina," Cunningham said. "She could bite Nina. Pull her ears and Nina would jut lay there."

He explained how the pit bull acted around his daughter.

After the incident, in the body cam video, Barrio said he thought the dog was going to kill him. 

According to police, the officer involved recently attended the state's newly mandated Canine Encounters Training and the officers who have not, will soon.

 "Obviously it's not good enough," Cunningham said about the training. "My dog did not have to die. that was a dogs behavior. A dog's natural instinct to protect her puppies." 

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement training course on canine encounters, the class Barrio took, lists steps officers should take if attacked by a dog. The last possible resort was lethal force. 

"Pepper Spray her or taser her, that's what you do," Cunningham said. Then you got to take her to the pound and put her on hold until the investigation is over. Cool I get fined for it. Cool, that's my responsibility, but you did not have to kill my dog."

The family filed a  complaint against Barrio and are speaking with a lawyer to take action against the Lampasas Police Department.

They want all police officers to receive longer and hands on training with canines to prevent other families from going through what they had to.

Officials said the pit bull was submitted for rabies testing because there was no proof of vaccinations.  Those tests have not come back.

The 9-1-1 call turned out to be an accidental dial.

The incident is still under investigation.