Police Defend Shooting “Aggressive” Dog; Owners Want Answers
Police shot and killed a nine month old dog who they say was a danger to the public. But the owners say the dog was harmless. The shooting happened in January when the owner's two dogs got loose and started chasing kids walking into the Kalkaska Middle School. Two kids even suffered minor bites, but nothing that broke the skin. “Most of the children were afraid of the dogs and kept their distance and went into the school as quickly as they could,” says Sheriff Dave Israel, with the Kalkaska County Sheriff's Department. When police arrived, officers used mace, tranquilizers, and other tools to try and catch the dogs. With the help of a passerby, officers captured Teeter, but her brother, Dopey got away. “He's scared of a plastic bag,” explains Kenneth Wheelock, one of the dog's owners. Wheelock says Dopey has never been aggressive. If the dog showed aggression, Wheelock says it was probably because of the tranquilizers or the mace the officers sprayed. “They knew that they were our dogs and they could have waited five minutes here,” says Wheelock. Police did try to contact the owners, but Wheelock doesn't feel they tried hard enough. The sheriff says after his officers exhausted all other options, one of them chose to shoot Dopey twice after the dog appeared to turn on the officer. “There was no evidence of the animals being treated inhumanely,” says Israel. “The officer did what was necessary.” Still, Wheelock and his fiance, Nikita Booth, don't feel the police had any right to kill. “We don't want someone else to have to go through the pain that we're going through because of losing him,” Booth says. The dogs owners took a plea deal last week that allows them to keep Teeter, under certain conditions, including moving the dog out of the county. 9&10's Ryan Raiche and Photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have the story.