Independence family pleads for dog’s life to be spared following attack that injured county worker

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A county employee says a dog attack is the worst pain he’s ever felt.

Details are surfacing of the night he visited an Independence apartment on business, and a dangerous dog bit him several times. Now, the family that owns the dog is pleading for its life to be spared.

Mamie Locklear says she feels terrible about what happened with her beloved dog, Buster. It was the evening of February 29th, a Jackson County family court officer came to her home in Independence on business with the family. When the front door was cracked open, Buster burst through the door, came on to the porch and bit the officer several times.

“My mother had the door open that much,” Locklear’s stepdaughter, Jennifer Karmen, told FOX 4 News, demonstrating how a small opening turned into a quick access for the 78-pound dog.

Karmen, who lives next door to Locklear, says the family member who answered the door was unaware the officer had opened the screen door, which startled the dog.

“Next thing I knew, he had his feet propped up against the door,” Locklear said. “I said, ‘what’s going on?’ He said, ‘the dog bit me’.”

Karmen says the Jackson County Family Court officer, Shawn Shaw, arrived around 8 p.m. on an unrelated matter. Karmen had spoken with him earlier, but she says he ran late for their appointment, leaving the family to believe he wasn’t coming, and there was no need to restrain Buster, a large pitbull-boxer mix.

“None of us would have assumed that Mr. Shaw, four hours later, was going to show up,” Karmen explained.

The two say Shaw suffered at least three bites from the dog, including one to his hand. Shaw told FOX 4 News he’s still being treated for his wounds. Family members say Buster isn’t dangerous to people he trusts, but can be with strangers.

“I think he was in such shock, he didn’t know he’d been bitten in the abdomen and the inner thigh near his private area,” Karmen said.

Buster is now at an Independence animal control shelter. Craig Brenner, who is a spokesperson for the City of Independence, tells FOX 4 News there are three other incidents in Jackson County involving this dog mauling people. That’s why a judge has decided Buster must be euthanized. Locklear said two of those lawsuits are still being weighed in the court system.

“It’s painful knowing Buster is locked up,” Locklear said.

Locklear says she was homeless when she adopted Buster seven years ago, and the dog is still the only thing she holds precious.

“I love Buster,” Locklear said. “He’s the only thing I have.”

Locklear will appear in a Jackson County courtroom on May 2nd, where she’ll try to persuade a judge to spare Buster’s life.

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