Sugar House man wants officer fired for shooting dog in his backyard
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — A grieving dog owner wants the officer who shot his pet to be fired.
Sean Kendall and his attorney met with six Salt Lake City police representatives for about two hours Monday to discuss the June 20 shooting. The Sugar House man said he didn't get the result he wanted from the meeting, though he called it a step forward.
"I want justice for my dog that was wrongfully killed in his own backyard," Kendall said. "I want to educate law enforcement so this doesn't happen again."
Both sides said they hope they can come to an agreement without a lawsuit.
Kendall's dog was killed when an officer searching for a missing 3-year-old in the area of 2500 South and 1500 East went to look for the child in Kendall's fenced backyard. Instead he found Geist, a 110-pound Weimaraner, who he said he shot when the dog began to act aggressively.
A neighbor said she heard two gunshots and saw the officer leave the yard. Kendall, who wasn't home at the time of the shooting, said the dog had a single gunshot wound to the head.
The missing child was found safe in his home about 30 minutes after the shooting.
The unnamed officer involved in the shooting, who has more than 10 years' experience with the department, was not on paid administrative as is standard procedure with officer-involved shootings involving people, police representatives said last week.
Kendall said he believes Utah law needs to change to protect animals as members of Utahns' families.
"The view that (pets) are just a piece of property, no different from a vehicle or a piece of lawn furniture, just doesn't sit well with me," Kendall said following the meeting.
An internal investigation by Salt Lake City police is ongoing, keeping Kendall him from getting the answers he wants, he said.
"If you're a parent, you would want us to look everywhere for your child," Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking said following Monday's meeting. "It's a tragic situation."
A second meeting between Kendall and the department is being scheduled.
A Facebook page titled Justice for Geist had attracted more than 10,000 followers as of Monday. The group is planning to rally outside the Salt Lake Public Safety Building on Saturday to ask that the officer be held accountable for an "inappropriate misuse of power."
Contributing: Devon Dolan
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: McKenzieRomero
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