Owner of dog that died on Denver street speaks out about what happened

Wants police held accountable

DENVER - The owner of a dog hit by a car in Denver, that died 90 minutes later as police stood by, is speaking out. 

Dani Juras said her 14-year-old black Lab mix, "Harley," escaped out a door that  her kids accidentally left open Wednesday night. 

Juras posted fliers of Harley throughout her neighborhood and on animal websites before she saw the disturbing video on 7NEWS.  The video shows the dog laying in the street, gasping for air for nearly 90 minutes while Denver Police prevented a neighbor from helping it.  Denver Police called animal control 15 minutes after arriving on the scene but it took the on-call animal control officer more than an hour to arrive because he came from his home.

The dog was hit on West 21st Avenue and Federal Boulevard -- two blocks from her house.  Police arrived at 8:30 p.m. after a car careened into a fence in front of a nearby house.  The driver was taken to the hospital.  Animal Control was called at 8:45 p.m. and an on-call animal control officer arrived around 10 p.m..

"I recognized Harley, I wanted to be in disbelief that it was him.  I watched the video a couple of times and had others watch it hoping that somebody would say it’s just not him," Juras said.

She had owned Harley since he was a puppy.

Juras contacted Denver Animal Control and confirmed Saturday morning that  the dog seen in the 7NEWS video is indeed her missing lab.  She told 7NEWS she wants the officers who prevented a neighbor from helping the dog, held accountable.

"I would like to see the officers that were involved, whether it’s a reprimand, whether it’s a fine, I would like to see them be held accountable," Juras said.

Denver Police have said injured dogs are unpredictable and helping them puts both the animal and the Good Samaritan at risk.  Police posted a YouTube video in which a veterinarian and Animal Control officer explain why it's best to wait for professionals to handle an injured animal.

We showed the YouTube video to Juras, who said she isn't buying it.

"They bring on a veterinarian who says, 'Well the animal -- if they would've moved the animal -- this or that could've happened.' Well yeah, but instead they just watched him die, instead they let others watch him die. They clearly knew that he was suffocating, that he was gasping for breath and in a situation like that, is the animal going to sue you?" Juras responded.

Juras said she is grateful for Ross Knapp, the neighbor who tried to intervene and bring her dog water and comfort before police threatened to arrest him.  Denver Police refused to look at the video before defending the officer's actions.

"I appreciate everything he did to help my dog and try to be there, he must have an amazing heart to try to help in a situation like that," Juras said.

An online petition demanding an apology from DPD has more than 5,000 signatures.  Juras said she signed the petition before she even knew it was her dog.

"This animal was neglected and neglected by somebody that’s supposed to be there for your safety, supposed to take care of us in times like this," Juras said.

The Denver Police Department responded Friday to public outcry by criticizing the fairness of 7NEWS, specifically naming Molly Hendrickson. 

"I said a lot of things yesterday in the interview with Channel 7 and they were omitted and it's frustrating because I expressed how much we care about dogs," Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson said in the YouTube video posted on the DPD Facebook page

Denver Police Department video response: http://youtu.be/qrbltKdMv_c

Online petition: http://ch7ne.ws/1gec4Dt

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