Florence Police Chief accused of shooting family’s dogs - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Florence Police Chief accused of shooting family’s dogs

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A Florence family says the Police Chief shot two of their dogs. One was wounded so badly they had to put it down. They are upset and want the Chief out.

Last Friday morning, Caren Vybiral and her 2-year-old daughter were inside this home along 195 in Florence watching a movie.

All of a sudden shots rang out.

"I heard pop, pop, pop go off," Vybiral said.

One bullet broke out a window.

Vybiral, with her toddler inches behind her, opened the front door. Her mom's Rhodesian Ridgeback, Sassy scooted inside bleeding. She'd been shot twice in the shoulders.

"I was right here and Sassy was right here," Vybiral said motioning behind the door. "There's blood on the wall right there."

Vybiral said when she looked out she saw police chief Julie Elliott-Abshire with her gun drawn.

"She was yelling at me," Vybiral said. "I asked her what's wrong? Why did you shoot my dog?"

Vybiral says the Chief cursed at her and ran around to the back of the house where Vybiral later discovered her brother's Pit Bull, Boomer had also been shot. The bullet appears to have hit his ear and then his leg.

"That was awful. I never ever want to see something like that again. There was blood everywhere," Vybiral said.

For an hour, the dog, Sassy, lay bleeding on the floor. The family called Williamson County deputies to put the dog down.

Vybiral's brother, Drew held the dog while deputies fired two fatal shots.

"I was devastated, " Drew Vybiral said.

Sassy is now buried in the backyard.

The Vybirals say they have since learned that an employee at city hall called to report the two dogs running a stray at a convenience store across the street. According to the employee, they were bothering customers.

Still, its behavior the Vybirals feel did not warrant the chief to open fire.

"I can't believe she did it. I honestly can't believe that happened. I think it was very irresponsible. She could've killed my kid. She could've killed me," Caren said.

"She should be fired. She shouldn't have that job," said Drew. "It was cruel it wasn't right. I think it was really sick."

The family admitted here tonight that they are guilty of their Rhodesian Ridgeback and their Pit Bull getting out. But they think the chief could've handled things better.

A woman who called 911 says the chief possibly saved lives.

"I want to know what gave someone the right to fire on a dog into a house where there's people living," asked Louise Vybral.

"They say they're not mean. They're not this, they're not that. They attack," said a neighbor. "If my grandkids hadn't been at the babysitter's, they probably would not be here today."

The family says they have been given one prior warning from the city for their dogs getting out. They say it's happened three times. But they don't think the dogs should've been shot.

The city released the following statement about the shooting:

"The City of Florence is investigating the shooting of dogs near the city hall on Friday, June 4, 2012. After the investigation is completed will issue a public statement concerning the results. Until then, however, we are making no further comment."

FOX 7 reached out to Chief Elliott-Abshire, but she did not return our calls or our email.

The Vybirals contacted the Williamson County DA's office. An investigator has been out to the home.

The city will hold a public meeting about the dog shooting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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