It’s every pet owner’s nightmare: Getting a message that something happened to a pet. Salt Lake City resident Sean Kendall lived that nightmare when he got a call that his dog, a 2-year-old 110-pound Weimaraner named Geist, had been shot and killed.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, stories of dogs being shot by police are all too frequent. But Kendall filmed a video document of his experience, including his confrontation with Salt Lake City police officers on Wednesday, June 18.
Warning: Video features adult language.
“About fifteen minutes ago, I got a phone call from Utah Animal Control,” Kendall says as he drives home. “Calling to tell me that an officer had shot and killed my dog.”
When Kendall arrives at his home he approaches two uniformed officers. He is told police were searching for a missing child and checked his fenced-in backyard. The officer who allegedly shot the dog had left the scene before Kendall arrived.
“What was the probable cause to trespass on my property and kill my dog?” An emotional Kendall asks the officers at the scene.
“He [the officer] entered the yard looking for a lost child,” an officer identified as Sgt. Joseph Cyr replies. “He was threatened by the dog and he shot the dog. That’s as simple as it gets.”
“You guys killed my dog! I’ve had this dog for three years,” Kendall says. “He was my best friend and he was shot because an officer couldn’t back the f*** up out of my house.
“Did the officer at least have the decency to kill him with the first shot so he didn’t suffer? Or do I have multiple gun wounds in what I consider my child?”
At that point Kendall drops the camera. He later picks it up, walks through his house, and enters the backyard.
“Why didn’t the officer just back up and leave?” Kendall asks to the camera. “Why did he feel the need to escalate the situation to the point where he had to shoot my dog in the head?”
In a statement on its watch log, the Salt Lake City Police Department claimed officers were conducting a search of the neighborhood for a missing 3-year-old boy. They knocked on the door of Kendall’s home; getting no response, they went to the back yard to continue the search. Once inside the yard, “the officer encountered a dog that approached him in an aggressive manner. The officer, in turn, shot the dog.”
The missing child was later found asleep in the basement of his home.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the officer involved in the shooting will remain on active duty during the inquiry. Kendall has retained legal council and demands the officer be fired from the police force. He also started a Justice for Geist Facebook page and an online petition.