GARDEN CITY, Rich County — A Rich County man says a neighbor wrongfully shot his dog to death after the man found it with one of his son's pet ducks in its mouth.
Robert H. Anderson claims in a federal lawsuit filed this week in Salt Lake City that Benjamin B. Negus came home from church Jan. 15, 2012, to see the white husky named Daisy leaving his property carrying a dead duck.
Negus "lured" the dog into the back cab of his pickup and drove to a gas station where he talked with Rich County sheriff's deputy Dennis Salzetti, according to the suit. Negus asked Salzetti if he had the right to kill the dog, and the deputy said that he did.
According to the lawsuit, Negus drove the dog to another place "to shoot the animal once in the guts and once in the head." Salzetti then went to Anderson's house to tell him the dog had been killed.
Negus initially refused to tell Anderson where he left the dog, but after a couple of days he "dumped the remains on the road" outside Anderson's property, the suit says.
The Negus family declined to comment Friday.
Anderson is seeking compensation for "extreme emotional distress" over the killing of Daisy.
"The value of the dog, given the heartfelt relationship between dog and master, is priceless, but not less than $10,000, or such greater amount as shall be proven at trial," according to the lawsuit.
Salzetti violated state law and due process when he told Negus he could shoot the dog and failed to get Anderson's side of the story "before the summary execution," the lawsuit says.
Anderson said when he complained to the sheriff's office about the killing, Rich County charged him with a class B misdemeanor for allowing a vicious animal to run at large. A justice court jury later acquitted him.
In addition to Negus and Salzetti, the lawsuit names Rich County, the sheriff's office and Sheriff Dale Stacey as defendants.
Rich County Attorney George Preston did not respond to telephone and email messages for comment.