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Stories differ over pitbull shot by off-duty Chicago cop

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Updated: June 20, 2013 4:48PM

The family of a pitbull puppy shot dead by an off-duty Chicago Police officer who was out with his 5-year-old son grieved Saturday over the pet they described as “just like my baby.”

The 4-month-old puppy, named Maximus, was part of the family, said his owner, Samantha Maglaya.

“He was just like my baby,” said Maglaya, whose family had the dog since it was 4 weeks old. “I carried him around. I fed him with a bottle.”

The dog was shot Friday afternoon by an off-duty officer in the 5800 block of North Oketo Avenue on the city’s Northwest Side, Officer Joshua Purkiss said.

The off-duty officer was outside in the Norwood Park community with his 5-year-old son when the dog started chasing the boy, according to the officer’s wife, who declined to give her name when reached by the Chicago Sun-Times.

“He’s 5 years old,” she said. “He was on his bike. This is a pitbull. Do you want to take that chance on a 5-year-old?

“I know that my son’s life could have been in danger . . . and the fact that my son was protected, that’s what I care about,” said the officer’s wife, who said they’d previously asked the dog be kept on a leash.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating, agency spokesman Larry Merritt said Saturday.

Maglaya, 33, said neighbors told her the boy wasn’t near the dog. Her family had let the dog out in their yard, but some of her five children were moving garbage cans and opened the gate, and the dog got out, Maglaya said. It made it to the front of the house, where it was shot multiple times, she said.

“How do you explain to your kids police officers are nice people if they’re shooting your puppy?” she said, adding that her 5-year-old daughter saw it happen.

Maglaya said the dog wasn’t aggressive.

“He was extremely friendly,” she said. “He didn’t bark, he didn’t growl . . . There was no mistaking this dog for being mean at all.”

Police ticketed the owner for not having a license for the dog and failing to restrain an animal.

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