City police have acknowledged that an officer made a mistake when he shot an innocent man's dog to death Wednesday night during a narcotics bust in West Philadelphia

"My feeling is that the owner of the dog will seek and will probably, definitely get some type of reimbursement from the city," said Lt. Ray Evers, police spokesman.

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After complaints from neighbors about drug sales from a home on Pennsgrove Street near 42nd, police set up surveillance on the house Wednesday and busted five buyers, Evers said.

When uniformed officers moved in to arrest the alleged drug dealer, Kenneth Nicholson, 36, his next-door neighbor came outside, and one of the cops became confused and went after the neighbor instead of Nicholson, Evers said.

The officer grabbed the neighbor in the foyer of his home, prompting the man's German shepherd to bite the cop on his right calf and the cop to fatally shoot the dog, police said.

Nicholson was taken into custody and found to be in possession of 68 packets of crack cocaine and one large rock of the substance, Evers said.

He said the officer who killed the dog is 49 with 15 years on the job. The officer has a good record, and the shooting was his first during a police action, Evers said.

"The department has offered an apology," Evers said. "Mistakes happen."

- Stephanie Farr