Have American Police Officers declared war on the family pet? (WARNING: this post contains a graphic video clip which may disturb some readers)


David Vara rallies against the shooting of dogs by cops.

His name is David Vara a community activist in Rochester, NY exposing police misconduct and corruption. For years, Vara’s work consisted of being a voice for innocent, unarmed citizens who have been killed by the Rochester, NY Police department. Now, Vara finds himself becoming a voice for innocent family pets, dogs who are being executed by trigger-happy police officers.

In the last 7 months three innocent family dogs have been executed by the Rochester, NY Police department, the Gates, NY Police department and the Monroe County, NY Sheriff’s department. Despite the fact Vara has held several rallies denouncing these injustices, and an outrage from the community, the killings of these pets is always ruled justified.

Rochester, NY Police Officer Chris Burgstrom, shot Codi in the back of the head and then lied saying the dog was charging him in an aggressive manner.

Rochester, NY Police Officer Chris Burgstrom, shot Codi in the back of the head and then lied saying the dog was charging him in an aggressive manner.

In the following exerpt from his blog Vara tells us about the shooting of Codi an innocent 1 1/2 year old “pit bull” who had the misfortune of wandering away from home, and never returned because he was shot in the back of the head by Rochester NY Police Officer Chris Burgstrom. Yes that’s right I said shot IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD! Here is the story in Vara’s own words.

By Davy V.
Updated Tuesday January 18, 2013  9:17 pm

Steven Jodoin Benus says he must have covered 100 miles over the last couple of days looking for his best friend Codi, a 1 1/2 year old pit bull terrier.

On Monday January 7th, when Steven took his friend home after they had gone ice fishing, Codi got out and wandered off.

Steven barely got any sleep looking for his beloved dog that night.

After posting an ad in the lost and found section of Craigslist, Steven and Ranger, Codi’s brother, searched everywhere near near his Greenleaf Rd. home in Greece, NY.

They looked through fields, streets, a golf club and the Greece, NY animal control.


The next day, Tuesday, with just a few hours of sleep, Steven was up at 4 am, continuing to look for Codi.

Steven then went to Rochester Animal Control on Verona Street near downtown.

An employee walked him back to the cages housing dogs, most of them pit bulls.

But no sign of Codi.

Before leaving, Steven filled out some forms describing what Codi looked like.

Wednesday morning, Steven got a call from a woman who had seen the Craigslist ad.

The woman told Steven that on her way to work Tuesday, she had seen Codi near Abbott’s ice cream on Lake Ave. near Lake Ontario.

Steven raced there, but once again, disappointment set in as there was no sign of Codi.

Then, Steven went back to Rochester animal control on Verona St. to see if Codi may have turned up.

It was then that Steven learned what had happened to his best friend.

An employee who overheard Steven describing Codi, pulled Steven aside and told him that Codi had been shot and killed by Rochester Police near the Lake Ontario pier.

Steven broke down.

Too distraught to see his best friend, Steven’s mom later went to Verona St. and identified Codi.

“My mom said he had a bullet hole behind his shoulder, that was a kill shot. He was my best friend.” Steven told me as we sat down at Tom Horton’s in Greece, his eyes watering.

He told me about how he and Codi met.

Codi was just 5 months old when Steven rescued him from a home near his job on Rochester’s northeast side.

“I actually saw Codi being born, then as he grew I realized he wasn’t being taken care of. His collar was gouging his skin, he was dirty, he had fleas and worms when I got him.” said Steven.

Then Steven told me something about the first time he had gone to Rochester animal control to look for Codi, when he was taken back to see all the dogs.

“They were all barking and their ears were cropped, they had the big collars on, and looking at them you could just tell that they had a rough life.” he said.

And as I sat there with Steven I realized just how much he loved his best friend.

I also couldn’t help but think how ironic it was that Steven had rescued Codi, a beautiful dog, so he wouldn’t end up like those dogs Steven saw in those cages, only for some trigger-happy Rochester Police officer to shoot him before Steven could find his best friend.

Sadly, the shooting of Codi as shocking as it may seem, is not an isolated incident. The incidents Vara speaks of are only the tip of the iceberg. Since the beginning of 2013 over 18 accounts of cops shooting dogs have come across my desk. All took place in different States across America. Most are unjustified outright executions of beloved family pets, which leads us to ask the question “Have American Police Officers declared war on the family pet?”

What some of you may know be asking yourselves is this: “How do we know that Burgstrom was lying when he said Codi charged him?” The answer to that is right here in the following short video clip taken by Vara of Codi’s corpse. I warn you that although this is a short clip it may be too disturbing for some of you to view:

Upon viewing the video we can clearly see that the smaller entrance wound is in the back of the dog’s head with the larger exit wound in the front. This tells us Codi was clearly shot from behind execution style. It also refutes Burgstrom’s claims that the dog was charging him in an aggressive manner when shot.

Davy Vara drew the same conclusion. He is now trying to raise funding for an expose’ film on cops who shoot dogs. We think this is a very important film that needs to be made. As such we are asking all of you to help us by supporting Davy Vara and contributing to the funding campaign. We MUST stem the tide of cops murdering innocent family pets.

Please visit the Indie GoGo funding campaign page and give what you can, even a single $1 can make the difference!  Here’s the link:

“Law Enforcement Stop Killing Our Innocent Family Pets!” fundraising campaign”.

Until Next Time Remember



UPDATE: In response to this blog post a couple of readers have posted links to petitions. I thought I would include them here for those of you with no time to read the comments.

The US Federal government: Make law enforcement accountable for killing family pets across the USA

Institute Training For Police Officers In Handling Unfamiliar Canines.

Both of the above are important petitions to sign if you are concerned about cops shooting dogs please support them both by signing and sharing!




15 thoughts on “Have American Police Officers declared war on the family pet? (WARNING: this post contains a graphic video clip which may disturb some readers)

  1. The police in this country finally realize that they can get away with just about anything. This is why they don’t want to be filmed doing their job, because 90% of the time THEY are breaking the law and they don’t want you to have any proof of it. They know they can simply shoot your pet and their fellow pieces of garbage will back them up. Never call the police if you have dogs in your home unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. You have way more to fear from these thugs than any criminal.

  2. I am an advocate for pit-bulls and I connect with many of the American shelters and rescues plus many other pitbull owners through Facebook -we are all working to help these amazing dogs that are being treated so unfairly world wide. As a family that has a pitbull it is so shocking to constantly see and hear of the amount of dogs your police kill daily – and yes it is daily , here in New Zealand our police to not carry weapons as part of their everyday duty, as such they don’t kill family pets!! Interestingly they don’t get bitten by family pets either. Maybe your police need to start learning how to do their jobs without armed force. Save these innocent animals from the not so innocent police who to me appear to just like to kill for the fun of it! Make it a felony and have an independent board review each killing – then maybe the police would realise that 1 dead dog could mean one dead career and prison time for them.

  3. Police Officers need to be held accountable for their actions! I am sick and tired of hearing that some officer has shot and killed a family’s pet! Watch out officer you are being watched by the ones that you swore to protect and serve. Remember Officer God is watching too and you will pay for what you have done while on this earth!

    • We agree karma will get the bad ones, but all the same please sign and share the petitions and help out Davy with the film by at least sharing the campaign link! Thanks for your comment. Welcome to our dog loving little community.

  4. I think the police are not using modern psychological assessment tools to determine whether an officer is fit to be wearing and using a gun. People are subject to all sorts of private and professional pressures that can turn them into a loose cannon. Officers need to be periodically evaluated to make sure they are fit to carry out their jobs without being a menace to the community.

    Every one of the stories I have read of police shooting dogs has raised serious concerns in my mind about their fitness for duty. First of all, why are police acting as animal control officers? It isn’t their duty under normal circumstances. Why are officers reaching for guns instead of less lethal methods?

    Deliverymen and meter readers interact with dogs hundreds of thousands of times each day without lethal weapons. When was the last time someone was killed or seriously hurt doing their job? Why don’t the police have the same tools delivery folk and meter readers have?

    Why are police officers the biggest babies in the world? How can any officer claim he was terrorized by a 5lb dog or a dog running way from them? Why are police departments letting their officers get away with their criminal behavior?

    It is way past time officers be held accountable. Too many dogs have died horrible deaths at the hands of the police–many of them in their own homes and yards.

    It is nuts for us to have dogs to defend our property if the police can come along and shoot them for doing their jobs. Everyone of us should have dominion over our own property unless we are engaging in a criminal activity, at the moment the police arrive, or the police have a warrant or our permission to come on our property.

    I don’t care if they are chasing the Boston Strangler. If the police are on our property, and we are obeying the law, then they should have to respect our property. If they break our door down, and they have the wrong house, then they have to pay to have it repaired. Why shouldn’t it be the same for our dogs?

    We wouldn’t let the police get away with this if they were shooting our children. My pets are my children (living at home) and I don’t want to have to live in fear that the police will chase someone through my yard and shoot my dogs in the process.

    Believe me, it can happen to you. The only way to stop it is to band together and let the police know that we aren’t taking it any more.

    Sign every petition you can to make police responsible. Write to your legislators. Write to your governor. Write to anyone who has a say in how your local and state police act when dealing with dogs and other animals. We can and we will make a difference..

    • YOU HAVE THAT RIGHT!!! Mental testing must be re-evaluated…visit my page on FB “YOU ARE A HERO” Support for Animal Advocates. Would love to have you on board!

    • Dr. Schueler you make some excellent points here, and you are so right when you say “Believe me, it can happen to you.” You are also bang on when you say “We can and we will make a difference.” Thank you for your thoughtful comment, glad to have you with us!

    • You are so right BUT unless those that are outraged by these murdered become more active than they are these murders will continue. My Lily was murdered in Fort Worth Texas on my driveway – the officer thought our Lab/Shepherd mix that was in my husband’s arms was a pitbull so he “shot the dog closest to him” our 40 lb border collie who was 5 ft from him. I have presented a legislative package to Senator Wendy Davis and Representative Craig Goldman urging both to sponsor my proposed bill to mandate animal encounter and behavior training for all Texas peace officers [the language of the proposed Bill models the training after the training Chief Halstead FWPD mandated as result of Lily’s murder}. I called on all those in Texas that know of Lily’s murder to reach out to their representatives – write letters and call and tell them to support this Bill – ONLY ONE PERSON RESPONDED. So be it – I continue to fight for this legislation for Lily and my Gracey and my future babies. So…..if people want these murders to stop – they need to do more than just talk/post about it. Remembering Lily A Reason for Change…

      • Yes we are aware that we must do more than talk and post about this issue. That is why we are trying to help Davy Vara raise funding for his film, and why we urge our readers to sign the petitions. Do not underestimate however, the power of posting and discussion. No action can be taken which has not been discussed. people must band together. This execution of innocent family pets must end, but without discussion, without facts being presented in posts and articles we would all just be running of half cocked with no organization or plan. This is not an issue that will be changed with half-assed effort, we must educate and organize a response if we wish to achieve anything.

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