Dog returned to woman who called police on black man bird-watching in Central Park

National

Amy Cooper got her dog back.

The cocker spaniel belonging to the white woman who called police on Christian Cooper, a black man who was bird-watching in Central Park in May, has been returned to her.

“Abandoned Angels would like to express its gratitude for the outpouring of support regarding the dog that was recently placed in our custody, following release of a troubling video that was brought to our attention,” according to a statement from Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, the shelter from where Cooper adopted the dog.

The dog had been evaluated by its veterinarian, “who found that he was in good health,” the statement said. Various New York City law enforcement agencies declined to take the dog into custody, according to the shelter.

“Accordingly, and consistent with input received from law enforcement, we have now complied with the owner’s request for return of the dog,” according to the statement.

The incident in the park

Amy Cooper called police on Christian Cooper (no relation) on May 25 during an encounter involving her unleashed dog. Amy Cooper was walking her dog while Christian Cooper was bird-watching at a wooded area of Central Park called the Ramble. They both told CNN their dispute began because her dog was not on a leash, contrary to the Ramble’s rules, according to the park’s website.

The incident was seen as another example of white people calling the police on African Americans for mundane things.

Christian Cooper recorded video of part of their encounter and posted it on Facebook, where it has since been shared thousands of times and became a trending topic on Twitter. In the video, he is largely silent while she frantically tells police he is threatening her and her dog.

“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper is heard saying in the video. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

While she’s on the phone, her dog appears to be straining and trying to get free while she tries to restrain it by its collar. After the incident, her dog was surrendered to the shelter he was adopted from a few years prior.

Cooper also lost her job with Franklin Templeton after the incident.

In comments to CNN as the video spread widely, Amy Cooper said she wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone.”

“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she said, adding that she also didn’t mean any harm to the African American community.

Christian Cooper told CNN’s Don Lemon that he accepted her apology.

“I think her apology is sincere,” Cooper said. “I’m not sure that in that apology she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist.”

But Christian Cooper also said he was disturbed by the fact that people were making death threats toward Amy Cooper, which he called abhorrent.

“I find it strange that people who were upset that … that she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head. Where is the logic in that?” he said. “Where does that make any kind of sense?”

By Laura Ly, Amir Vera, and Brian Ries, CNN

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