Residents in Salt Lake City, Utah are up in arms after a local police officer shot and killed a man’s beloved pet dog last month while responding to a missing child report.
Authorities found the displaced toddler unharmed and sleeping inside its home around 30 minutes after they entered the yard of Sean Kendall on June 18 and killed his 110-pound Weimaraner, “Geist.”
The incident has since managed to garner the attention of animal lovers in and out of Salt Lake City after Kendall published on the web a cell phone video he recorded as he accosted the police outside his home moments after learning what had happened.
"About 15 minutes ago, I got a phone call from Utah Animal Control, calling to tell me that an officer had shot and killed my dog," Kendall says in the beginning of the clip. "He was inside my backyard in a fenced-off area. What was the cause for the officer to shoot and kill my dog?"
The footage next shows Kendall arriving at his resident in the city’s Sugar House neighborhood and furiously questioning the cops.
"What was the probable cause to trespass on private property and shoot my dog?" an outraged Kendall asks on camera.
“We entered the yard looking for a lost child,” Sgt. Joseph Cyr responds, according to Fox13Now. An officer on the scene “was threatened by the dog and shot the dog,” Cyr added. “That’s as simple as it gets.”
“So I get to bury my dog because an officer couldn’t back up and close the fucking gate,” the irate owner replies.
So far, police have only said that the dog approached the officer in an “aggressive manner,” prompting the cop to open fire.
The video has since managed to go viral, and viewers who have become outraged by the Salt Lake City Police Department’s behavior have certainly spoken up. The chief of the SLCPD has since been prompted to comment publically on the matter, a large protest was held outside of police headquarters over the weekend and even the city council has asked for an investigation.
“It’s overwhelming, the support of the community,” Kendall said at the protest on Saturday attended by hundreds, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Speaking to a local Fox News affiliate, the dog owner said he believes the officer responsible for the shooting should be disciplined justly. That law enforcement official has since been identified as detective Brett Olsen
“I believe this officer made a terrible judgment call,” Kendall told the station. “In my profession, if I make a terrible judgment I’m fired. “
“He was kind of all I had,” Kendall told Fox13 of his dog. “To me, he wasn’t just some animal. He was my best friend. He was kind of like a child. I went through raising him, training him.”
At a news conference on Friday, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said he believes the officer was in the right.
"It is our responsibility that we do all we can to bring a safe resolution to the circumstances we encounter. This is a seasoned officer who has tremendous experience and has, in fact, been under fire and performed very well," Burbank said of Olsen. "I cannot in my mind imagine an officer coming forward and saying we didn't do all we could to find a missing child."
“In this particular circumstance, evidence shows that the dog was extremely close, in fact, within feet of the officer,” Burbank said. “After 23 years in law enforcement, I haven’t seen this type of public outcry when certain human beings have lost their lives,” Burbank said.
That outcry, Burbank added, has materialized in the form of complaints that he says the police department has received without end since last week.
“I absolutely demand that every single one of my officers treat the public with the respect and dignity they deserve. My officer, and officers, deserve no less,” Chief Burbank said.
Members of SLC’s city council have since written to Chief Burbank calling for a review of departmental procedures and an independent review of the shooting.