Resident: Deputies shot barking dog that was 10 years old, had cataracts

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seal. File Photo
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seal. File Photo

The Acton resident who watched Wednesday as sheriff’s deputies shot her dog during a reported “landlord-tenant dispute” says her 10-year-old dog weighed about 30-40 pounds and had cataracts.  

At approximately 1 p.m., on the 7500 block of Valley Sage Road, deputies responded to a report of a dispute between a landlord and a tenant, Deputy Ronald Sneed of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station said at the time of the incident.  

However, the tenant, Kristen James, said deputies “crept” onto her property after being led to it by a man who is not their landlord, and had an ongoing dispute with them regarding nearby construction and development.  

“So (the man) went down the street, (led) them in, and then the cops walked up and my dog was barking at them,” said James. “They shot my dog, and I heard the shots, I opened the door, and they say, ‘We shot your dog.’”  

In security camera footage provided to The Signal, the deputies cannot be heard audibly calling out as they approached the Acton home before shooting Mira, the dog, as it ran toward them.  

“She just turned 10 years old in May … her eyes were starting to get cataracts, so she can’t see very well,” said James. “She’s very protective over me, so anybody that walks up, she will bark. But she’s not going to bite.” 

Sneed said on Wednesday that the responding deputies had encountered an “aggressive dog,” while responding to the call, prompting them to open fire. In her decade of ownership of the dog, James said, Mira had never bitten or attacked anyone.  

Officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday they either did not have information about the exact details rergarding the shooting or were unavailable to comment.  

Lt. Audrey Alvarez of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station did confirm, however, that no arrests or citations were issued as a result of the call. Deputy Shawn Dubusky at the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said all uses of a firearm are investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.  Officials from the IAB could not be reached as of the publication of this article.  

The Palmdale Sheriff’s Station Detective Bureau also could not be reached for comment as of the publication of this article.  

In the video, after deputies emerge from the brush, Mira can be seen darting toward them. Within two seconds of Mira appearing in the frame, and just before the dog would reach the deputies, a hail of gunfire ensues; the dog about-faces and begins to limp away. She crawls out from the underside of a vehicle, lies down on the ground and dies.  

James and a man also living in the residence then walk out and a yelling confrontation, laced with profanities, begins. 

James can be heard begging the deputies to let her help her dog as they yell at her to comply with their orders. The deputies continue to have their guns drawn and the video ends with the two yelling at the man who called the deputies on them. 

In the aftermath of the shooting, no arrests or detainments were made. James said she counted eight rounds — based on shell casings found on the ground immediately outside her home — were used to kill her Queensland heeler.  

Since the incident, she says neither the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station nor the Sheriff’s Department have reached out or attempted to contact her.  

“She was a really good, loving dog,” said James, after telling The Signal that the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control had allowed her to keep the dog and bury her on the property. “She’d never hurt anybody, and I loved her so much.”  

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