ST. LOUIS, Mich. — A Michigan community is outraged after a family’s dog was killed when it got out of its family’s yard. The family along with neighbors believe the officer used excessive force and now they want answers.
The officer says Scout, the family’s Golden Retriever attacked him. The dog’s family says he was never aggressive.
“Scout didn’t have any enemies,” said neighbor Jen Lovejoy.
Scout found his way out of the yard on Sunday without a leash. That’s against city law. Witnesses say Officer Matt Vanhall pursued Scout and eventually shot him just feet from the Goetzinger family’s home.
Lori Walmsley watched the incident from across the street.
“It was as if the dog didn’t go down fast enough,” she said. “And he just kept shooting it over and over, until it finally tried to crawl back through its gate.”
Brian Goetzinger said he was at home watching t-v when he heard the shots.
“I kept saying, ‘why did you shot my dog?'” Goetzinger said. And he said, ‘he was coming at me.'”
In a police report, Ofcr. Vanhall states that Scout ran at him and bared his teeth. He says the dog also tried to bite his leg. The police chief is standing behind his officer and says he was justified in firing his gun.
Walmsley believes otherwise.
“There was no biting, no kicking, no struggle,” she said.
Goetzinger says Scout was never aggressive toward strangers and doesn’t believe his dog threatened the officer.
“He’ll come up to them and bounce around and he was a happy-go-lucky dog,” Goetzinger said.
Now, the prosecutor is reviewing the case. Until then, it’s the officer’s word against the witness statement.