DENVER - More than 7,000 people have signed an online petition demanding an apology from the Denver Police Department after one of its officers prevented a man from helping a dog hit by an SUV that later died.
The department defended the officer's actions, saying he was prudently protecting the public from an injured animal.
As of 1 p.m. Sunday, 7,309 people had signed the petition at change.org. The petition has been signed by people as far away as Australia and Canada. A petition link for mobile users: http://ch7ne.ws/1gec4Dt
Ross Knapp, who lives nearby, said he was just trying to help the injured dog lying in the middle of Federal Boulevard near West 21st Avenue on Wednesday night.
"One of the officers told me I had to leave and couldn't be near [the dog]," Knapp said. "I tried a couple of times to go back and [the officer] just said I was impeding an investigation… and if I came back, I would be arrested."
Police department spokesman Sonny Jackson said officers don't want anyone to get hurt by an injured animal.
"You want to do the right thing, you want to help, but you also have to consider the situation, that you could be injured," Jackson said.
Several residents say police should have allowed someone else to take the injured dog to a veterinarian.
Englewood resident Connor Leiva's online petition asks Denver Police to apologize to the dog's owner, the people who tried to help and to the dog.