Dog Shot, Killed While Playing in Dog Park

Couple accuses off-duty officer of killing their dog

Newlyweds Rachel and Ryan Rettaliata adopted Siberian husky Bear Bear two years ago after its first owner abused it. Now, after the 3-year-old dog was shot and killed at a dog park Monday, the Rettaliatas' house is filled with memories and reminders.

Rachel is left with the painful of memories of her beloved pet's last breaths.

“You could clearly see the bullet wound and the blood saturating his fur,” she said. “It was really devastating, and shocking, and hard to see him like that.”

Bear Bear was shot at about 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Quail Run Community Dog Park in Severn, Md. Rachel Rettaliata’s brother, Stephen Kurinij, was watching Bear Bear and let him off his leash inside the park. Then another couple arrived with their dog still on its leash, and Bear Bear got excited, Kurinij said.

“The guy told me, 'You better break these dogs up, better get your dog,'” Kurinij said.

But before he could do anything, the man, who was an off-duty federal officer at Ft. Meyer in Arlington, Va., whipped out his gun and shot Bear Bear, Kurinij said.

“He was shot with a hollow point and basically that bullet destroyed his kidneys, his colon, his sacrum, pierced his intestines five times,” Ryan Rettaliata said. “There was no way to recover from it.”

“He’s a monster, in my opinion," Rachel Rettaliata said, "and I feel like he should have his right to a weapon taken away.”

The off-duty federal officer told police a drastically different story. He said Bear Bear not only attacked but also bit his dog. And when he went in to break up the two dogs, he said Bear Bear attacked him, too.

There were no other witnesses in the park at the time of the shooting, police said.

Anne Arundel County police have not charged the 32-year-old off-duty officer but are still investigating the incident to determine if he was in the wrong. He has been placed on administrative leave.

Police said the community outrage has created concern for the officer's safety.

“There is certain specific information that was not known initially, that is now known,” said Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. “I think there will be grounds for bringing charges.”

“This person made an awful decision,"  Ryan Rettaliata said, "and he destroyed a family with that one bullet.”

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