Why no arrest?

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This is in regard to the shooting of the dog by Pittsburgh Police Officer Matthew Gardner on Friday night (“Officer Who Shot Dog Cites Its Aggression,” June 15).

Earlier that afternoon, a little after 4 p.m., I was one of several people who called 911 to report that a man was passed out on the steps of the liquor store at One Oxford Centre on Smithfield Street. The man’s dog, a beautiful German shepherd, was lying with its head on his chest and barking at passersby as it protected its owner.

Police, medics and an animal control officer arrived. The animal control officer gained complete control over the dog and leashed it, and as I boarded my bus a little before 5 p.m. the medics were working on the dog’s owner, later identified as homeless man Christopher Stephens.

Two hours later and two blocks away, the scene repeated itself, but this time the dog was shot by a police officer and Mr. Stephens was arrested for public drunkenness.

What are the odds that Mr. Stephens was sober when he was passed out in front of a liquor store at 5 p.m. but had become so insensibly intoxicated by 7:25 p.m. that he actually slept through the shooting of his dog?

Why didn’t the police in the earlier incident arrest Mr. Stephens and impound his dog? He was passed out and obstructing pedestrians with his dog and his body. Yet the police allowed a drunken homeless man to leave after returning his German shepherd to him. They endangered everyone in the city and set up a situation where a fellow police officer was nearly killed later in the evening.



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