was on her back patio eating breakfast the morning of Friday, April 16, when a man dressed in all black jumped out from behind a tree. Her dog, Jade, a two-year-old terrier mix, woke up from a nap and sauntered over to the man.
"Her tail was wagging and she was smiling at him," recounts Alvarez, who says the man soon identified himself as a cop with the north St. Louis County suburb of Bellefontaine Neighbors. He said he was investigating a report of a vicious dog on the loose.
"I tried to tell him that Jade had never bit a soul and that she wasn't violent, but he didn't give me a chance," says Alvarez. "He drew his gun, and said, 'I have to shoot her. I have to shoot her.'"
Within seconds Alvarez says the officer squeezed the trigger dispensing a round from his department issued .40 caliber Glock right between Jade's eyes. The bullet exited though the canine's neck.
"I couldn't believe it," continues Alvarez, who says she attempted to grab Jade moments before the shooting but fell to the ground when her newly reconstructed knees buckled. "I had knee replacement surgery in January. I was lying on the ground wailing, and he just shot her. Just like that. My seven-year-old daughter was home sick that day and came running out to see her dog dying in the backyard. That dog was her baby -- and mine."
Alvarez admits that Jade looked similar to a pit bull, but said the dog was not such breed. "She was trained as a service animal," she says.
Following the shooting, the 57-year-old Alvarez called her husband who rushed home from work and took Jade -- still clinging to life -- to the veterinarian where the dog was euthanized. Meanwhile, Alvarez says other officers with the Bellefontaine Neighbors police force arrived on the scene, with a few of them offering condolences.
Still, more than two weeks later, Alvarez says she's never gotten an official apology from the department, moreover she says they've failed to fully investigate the incident. "I went to the station and they said the investigation was closed, the officer was justified. They'd never even asked me my side of the story."
Bellefontaine Neighbors police chief Robert Pruett
calls the shooting an "unfortunate incident."