Dog Recovers From Police Shooting; Family Calls It Unwarranted Posted By: Brittany Morehouse 9 hrs ago http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=82751&catid=158 WASHINGTON (WUSA) - A two-year-old German shepherd is recovering in the hospital after being shot in his backyard by police officers. District police are investigating the incident, which occurred on Tuesday night at a house on Sheridan St. NW. Officers were responding to a call about a potential burglary. When they arrived, a man opened the back door. According to 4th District Commander Linda Brown, the officers feared for their life when the dog came after them from inside the house. One policeman shot two rounds into the dog's head. The shooting is undisputed but the rest of the story is being argued by family members who are outraged at what they call unnecessary force and reckless judgment. The homeowner, Isabel Moreno, 69, was inside his house when his son, Carlos Hernandez, 21, came home. Hernandez was locked out but did not know if his father was home at the time. He tried knocking and when no one answered climbed through the back window. A neighbor saw him and called police. Minutes after that, Hernandez said he heard a banging on the door. He opened it and Sam ran out barking. "He was just barking at him on his four feet, not trying to bite the police officer," said Hernandez. "The police officer was scared so he backed up and panicked and shot the dog. " The spot where the dog landed is just a few steps from outside their back gate which borders a very small back yard. Hernandez said he tried to call out to the officer that the dog was not a threat. "I was like 'please don't shoot the dog!," he said. "I yelled it three times and he didn't listen." While this was happening in the back, Moreno said he was being thrown down on the ground in the front of the house. His 12-year-old son David Hernandez witnessed the incident. He described how after his father answered the door, the police officers pulled him from inside the house and threw him to the floor of the front porch. Moreno points to cuts on his forehead and bruises on his leg as proof he was mishandled. Brown said the officers handcuffed him but did not hurt him. "I heard two gunfires," said David. "I thought my brother got shot but then they told me, 'Do you know a big dog? A big german shepherd? That's what we shot.' I tried to hold back the tears." Sam was taken to Friendship Hospital For Animals and treated for critical injuries. Doctors feared he would face paralysis because one of the bullets went through his back neck and landed near his spine. The bullet fragments are scattered in his back, barely missing the spinal chord. Today, Sam was taken to a neurologist in Leesburg for an expert opinion. Doctors expect him to recover slowly but completely. For the next several days, they will have to work hard to help the dog avoid infection and secondary problems. "We're worried about pneumonia," said Dr. Kristine Covert. "That's secondary to his hospitalization. We're also worried about the wound itself possibly developing systemic infections. And lastly, one of the other concerns is that a nerve was severed by the bullet on the left side of his body. So if anything is going to take the longest to heal it's going to be his left front leg." Meanwhile, Moreno is struggling to pay the veterinarian bills which have run up to reach a few thousand dollars. He's concerned he won't be able to afford any extra surgeries needed for the dog's recovery. Friendship Hospital For Animals is collecting donations to help Sam. For more information on how to help call 202-363-7300.