BRIGHTON - No criminal charges will be filed against an Adams County deputy who shot and killed a man's dog in Denver during a burglary call, Adams County District Attorney Dave Young said in a statement Friday.
"Based upon the evidence presented and applicable law, no criminal charges will be filed against the law enforcement officer involved in the accident," Young stated. "Given the facts and circumstances presented in this case, the evidence is insufficient to have a reasonable likelihood of success at trial in meeting our burden that Deputy Europe 'needlessly' killed the dog beyond a reasonable doubt ... It cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Deputy Europe's conduct under the circumstances establishes the element of 'needlessly kills' as is required to prove the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals."
The shooting occurred on Jan. 14 in the 5400 block of Tennyson Street in Denver just after 8 p.m. Deputies were responding to a burglary alarm when they got the wrong address and shot and killed a border collie, Ziggy, belonging to business owner Jeff Fisher.
Wilfred Europe III, the deputy who fired the shot, has been reassigned and is no longer on patrol.
Sheriff Darr says his deputies did go to the wrong address, but his office has a different account of what happened.
Darr says deputies arrived to find the door to the business open. When they made contact with Fisher, Ziggy slipped away and acted "aggressive" towards the deputies. Europe described to police that Ziggy was "barking, growling, and snapping its teeth" towards him.
Darr says Europe kicked the dog, but it did not retreat. Europe then shot at the animal twice, hitting Ziggy once. Darr says he is not sure if the deputies ever made it to the correct address.
Fisher claims deputies forced their way in. He says Deputy Europe shot and killed Ziggy as the dog was walking away from the deputies. Fisher says Ziggy was at least 15- to 20-feet away when Europe opened fire.
Police say the dog weighed 57 pounds. Fisher previously told 9NEWS that Ziggy weighed less than 40 pounds.
The police investigation says "there are significant discrepancies between the deputies' version of events and that of the dog owner, Jeff Fisher. The deputies were consistent in their statement of the facts that led to the shooting of the animal ... Mr. Fisher, on the other hand, gives a much different recitation of events. In essence, he characterizes ... [that] Deputy Europe executed his rather 'friendly' dog from a distance of 15-to 20-feet without any justification."
Fisher says Ziggy came to work with him every day. Ziggy was a 8-year-old blue heeler/border collie mix who Fisher says was not aggressive. In the police report, another deputy who interviewed Fished claims Fisher told him that Ziggy "would have bitten Europe because the dog didn't know him."
This is not the first fatal shooting involving Deputy Europe. Deputy Europe shot and killed 40-year-old Don Cambron last February during a traffic stop. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.