Awakened to the sounds of two gunshots early yesterday morning, Eric C. Terry ran outside to find two Baltimore City police officers standing over his gravely wounded, pregnant dog, Grimm.
The officers apologized. They had been called to the wrong house.
Still, there lay 18-month-old Grimm, bleeding from two gunshot wounds and still attached to her chain.
The dog died late yesterday afternoon after undergoing surgery at the Falls Road Animal Hospital.
Baltimore police said that the officers -- Phillip R. McCloud and Michael Carney -- were incorrectly sent to the house in the 3500 block of Hayward Avenue to investigate a report that a woman "needed help."
After receiving no answer to their knock on the front door, the officers started walking along the side of the house, where they were confronted by Grimm, a black and brown dog that is part Labrador and part German shepherd.
"I didn't get a chance to get to the door before they started around back," Mr. Terry said. "She is not a vicious dog. I have her on a chain."
Officer McCloud, 23, who has been on the force less than a year, said he shot the dog with his 9mm handgun because it advanced toward him as if to attack.
He said there was no fence in the yard and he did not see the chain on the animal because it was still dark at the time.
Officer Carney fled from the dog before the shooting, the police said.
The officers lifted Grimm into a patrol wagon and drove her to the animal hospital.
Veterinarian Kim Hammond said Grimm was shot twice, with the first bullet passing through the uterus and killing the eight unborn puppies and the second lodging in the dog's left foot.
"There's no way someone has to use that type of force against a dog on a leash," said Dr. Hammond. "The officers carry Mace. This dog was not maced. This was a 35- to 38-pound dog, not the type of threat where you have to drop it with two shots."
"We have had that dog since she was a little puppy," Mr. Terry said tearfully.
"She is a family pet. When my daughter [Rhonda, 9] got home from school she just cried her heart out."
Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman, said officers are "certainly allowed to shoot an animal if it poses a threat to people."
He added that the incident is under investigation.