NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- A New Haven woman is mourning the loss of her dog after it was mauled by a Pit Bull.
Sally Broadstreet was walking her dog Max, an 11-year-old shepherd collie mix, on Sherman Avenue when they were approached by the Pit Bull. She says Max was protecting her from the Pit Bull when it killed him.
"He thought I was in danger, so he was protecting me," she explained. "Right up until the end, that's how we always were. We were always together and he always made sure people would help me out."
Max had been by her side for the past 5 years, she says he was all the family she had.
"He looked at me like he was saying goodbye to me and I still thought he was going to be alive and I kept hitting the Pit Bull, but the guy looked at me and said 'He's dead, your dog's dead,'" she said.
Her first night without Max was a sleepless one, she says.
"Then I'd see him inside, I'd see all his things, his toys, his bed," she said.
Memories of Max are all over the apartment, so she says she spent most of the night outside, where she built a memorial for him at the very spot he died. She says it's the least she can do for the dog she says helped her walk again after foot surgery and protected each step she took thereafter.
"People would see me from St. Raphael's and say 'Hey look at her out there walking in the ice and snow with Max.' He taught me from the beginning how to go slow, how to walk to the corner. If I wanted to sit he'd let me sit, but he helped me to reach my goals," she said. "Every day we'd set a goal and he'd help me go further so he got me all around the hospital."
Police fired several rounds at the Pit Bull attacking Max. The bullets killed the Pit Bull, but not before it ended Max's life.
Animal Control Officer Stephani Johnson says shooting a dog is the last thing police want to do, but sometimes they have no other choice.
"It's not something I can explain, it's being a police officer your thought process is like that (snaps) and if the plan works out without any injury to yourself or the animal that's there or the people in the house then that works out," she said. "If you have to draw your weapon because that's what you have to do, then that's what you have to do unfortunately."
She says all new city police officers are now trained in how to handle these situations.
"I do teach a class to our students in the academy about animal behavior, reading their behavior, body language and such," she said.
She's quick to point out that while it was a Pit Bull that killed Max, not all Pit Bulls are vicious.
"Yes they are getting a bad rap because the majority of the ones I get here are sweet lovable dogs," she said. "You get one or two that are in the news attacking, they are getting a bad rap."
Police are conducting an internal investigation into the incident, which is standard procedure when officers fire their weapons.
Officers are also trying to determine if the Pit Bull had an owner.
Broadstreet says while she'll never get over Max she does want to adopt another dog to help her out.
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