Secret Service Claims Dog Shot By Off-Duty Agent Was 'Unrestrained And Aggressive' In New Explanation

The Secret Service said Tuesday that one of its agents shot a dog in Brooklyn, New York, Monday night while off duty because the canine was "unrestrained and aggressive."

On Monday, the agency initially claimed that the dog, a female Belgian shepherd, had been "unleashed" at the time of the incident, according to a statement it provided to The Daily Beast.

At around 9:45 p.m. on Monday, New York City Police Department officers responded to reports of shots fired in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Windsor Terrace, just beneath Prospect Park.

"An off-duty Secret Service employee was involved in the shooting of an unrestrained and aggressive canine in Brooklyn, NY yesterday," a U.S. Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement to Newsweek. "As this is an ongoing investigation, the Secret Service will not have further comment."

Crime scene photos published by the New York Daily News Monday night indicated that a leash was likely affixed to the dog, notwithstanding the Secret Service's initial claim.

A law enforcement source said that the Secret Service believes the dog was wearing a leash but that it was unsecured from the owner, who was not present.

The Daily News' report says that "a man and his girlfriend [were] walking with" the dog when the agent, whose identity remains unknown, turned a corner, encountering them. The dog apparently began barking, which is when the agent discharged his weapon, police sources told the paper.

The incident is under internal investigation by the Secret Service.

At nearby Kensington Stables, Walker Blankinship, the stable master, heard the agent's gun go off. He told Newsweek that once the shot was fired, he saw the agent, the girlfriend and the dog owner all on the scene together.

"I was sitting in front of the stable and heard a gunshot," Blankinship said. "And there were two guys and a woman. One guy was saying, 'I can't believe it. I can't believe you let the f***ing gun go off.'"

The Daily Beast's report, however, suggests it was possible the man was not accompanying the dog in the moments preceding the shooting. According to the site, "a man who'd joined the woman just after the shooting picked up the dog and placed it in the back of his SUV and drove away."

The dog's owner told the Daily News that he believes his dog was shot because she merely frightened the agent. "She scared a cop who was walking home," he told the paper. "He shot her and she's dead."

The Secret Service declined to elaborate further, pending the outcome of its internal investigation.

Secret Service
A Secret Service police car outside the White House gate in 2012. Raymond Boyd/Getty