HAYWARD -- A Hayward man is grieving over the loss of his beloved pit bull, which was shot and killed by Berkeley police while they were serving a search warrant at his house Wednesday.
The death of the 50-pound pit bull, named Rocky, spurred its owner, Frank Cisneros, to complain to the Berkeley police internal affairs division, which will investigate his charge that police acted too aggressively and without regard for his family.
A group of officers with a search warrant went to the Hayward house on the 23000 block of Jorgensen Lane about 9:15 a.m. Wednesday looking for evidence -- possible spray paint cans and pens -- related to an ongoing felony vandalism and graffiti case.
Police are investigating 60 to 70 vandalism and tagging incidents that occurred in Berkeley this month and obtained the warrant because they had reason to believe the Hayward house may somehow be linked to the cases.
Cisneros, 35, said his younger brother was arrested on a graffiti- related charge in Berkeley in 1996. The brother does not live at the house, and police had no warrant for his arrest.
Owner says wife tried to restrain dog
Cisneros, who was not home when about eight Berkeley officers and one Hayward officer went to his door, said his wife was headed out the front door to work when they arrived, and the dog began to squirm out the door. She tried to control him by the collar, he said.
"Had they given her 10 seconds to pull him in the house everything would have been fine," Cisneros said.
But police tell a different story.
"As the front door opened, the dog came out, ... barking and growling, and ran toward (an officer)," said Hayward Lt. Reid Lindblom.
Berkeley police spokesman Joe Okies said there is no indication in the police report that anyone tried to "physically restrain" the dog. He said the dog came out and charged an officer.
"The dog got within two feet of the officer, and the officer shot the dog twice," he said. "Basically, we went there to serve a search warrant, and officers were confronted with a vicious pit bull and had to protect themselves."
Dr. Carl Singer, a Hayward veterinarian, confirmed that Hayward Animal Control brought the dog to him and it had died from two gunshots wounds, to the chest and stomach.