OAKLAND (CBS) – The police officer who fatally shot a family’s arthritic dog during a search for a robbery suspect would not have had time to reach for a Taser, police said Friday.

The 11-year-old Labrador, named Gloria, was killed at a home on Burgos Avenue on Tuesday as two officers searched the property. The owner, Mary Kate Hallock, was out running errands when her burglar alarm sounded.

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“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family. Any time we go out to a situation like this, we don’t ever want to use any type of force against an animal,” said Officer Jeff Thomason, a spokesman for the Oakland Police Department.

One officer entered the home while the other remained outside the backdoor of the house with his firearm drawn. That’s when the dog charged, Thomason said.

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“He had his firearm out focusing on that rear door. He believed that there was a suspect inside. The dog did come out and start charging at the officer, growling. And the officer waited until he was about three feet away before he was able to fire off his hand gun.”

Hallock returned home to find a note on her door from the police explaining what had happened.

Department policy calls for pepper spray or a Taser to be used first in subduing an animal. Thomason said these circumstances were different since the officer would not have had time to switch weapons without risking serious injury.

The Oakland Police Department has received numerous hone calls from people wanting to help the family get another Labrador, Thomason said.

A report on the entire use of force incident is expected in late 2010.

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