New York Daily News

December 23, 2004

Cops shot boy's dog on roof, suit charges Youth says pit bull was allergic to grass

BY JOHN MARZULLI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

A Brooklyn family has sicced lawyers on the NYPD for gunning down its pit bull on the same rooftop where a cop killed an unarmed teen earlier this year.

Cops say the dog was vicious and did not belong atop 385 Lexington Ave., in Bedford-Stuyvesant, when officers unleashed the fatal bullets on Oct. 10, 2003.

But 14-year-old Angel Yulfo Jr. says his pup had a good reason for the rooftop stroll - the animal was allergic to grass.

When the boy and his dog ran into two housing cops, "one officer pointed a gun at the head of young Angel while the other said, 'Finish him off,'" the lawsuit alleges. The complaint says Angel thought he was the subject of the ominous order.

Angel was so broken up when his beloved Brandon died - the next day - that he fantasized in a school essay about being a suicide bomber in a police station, according to papers filed yesterday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

The boy's father told the Daily News he spent $2,100 on veterinary bills in trying to save the dog's life, and said the NYPD has never offered an explanation as to why the dog was shot. He said his son was handcuffed during the incident, then released hours later without being charged.

The NYPD declined comment, but Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said the shooting was justified.

"Police officers have an obligation to protect themselves and an obligation to protect the public from vicious animals," Lynch said through a spokesman.

But the Yulfos' attorney Daniel Perez said: "If it was a poodle instead of a pit bull, the police wouldn't suggest blame rests at the paws of the dog."

He added that cops should understand that many project residents socialize, walk dogs and even hold picnics on building rooftops.

Three months after the dog was killed, Timothy Stansbury, 18, was shot to death on the same roof after he apparently startled a cop coming through a doorway.