Friday, April 21, 2017

Kansas: "Territorial, protective" service dog is shot and killed by police after it tries to attack an animal control officer

KANSAS -- The Augusta police chief is getting death threats after an officer shot and killed a veteran's service dog.

Police say the incident happened after animal control and the officer responded to a complaint about the dog attacking a neighbor’s dog.

Fitzgerald said Midnite got out on Thursday, presumably chasing rabbits and cats as he often did. Midnite ended up several mobile homes down from his home, hovering over a neighbor’s small dog.

“It’s how he plays,” Fitzgerald [wants you to believe].

Fitzgerald said he talked to the small dog’s owner, who said the smaller dog wasn’t hurt, just “shaken up” from Midnite towering over it.

After Fitzgerald went back home, the neighbor reported the incident to animal control.


"We've had previous contact with him with regard to this dog [running loose]. We have some knowledge, some neighborhood complaints of this dog," Brewer said.

Police said they did know the owner of the mobile home park filed a complaint against Midnite and Fitzgerald in the past.

The owner of the dog was known to have a temper, he said, and the animal control officer was going to write him a ticket.

When the officers arrived at the trailer, Brewer said, the front door was open but a glass screen door was shut. The animal control officer knocked on the screen door.

“This dog comes blasting up and hits the door,” Brewer said.

That startled the animal control officer.

The dog slammed into the screen door a second time, knocking the latch loose. He charged the animal control officer, who fell backward on the porch and hit his head, Brewer said.

The dog lunged at the officer and was flying through the air when the police officer shot it, he said.

“The animal control officer said, ‘I figured I’d had it,’ ” Brewer said.

The service dog retreated to the porch, where it collapsed and died.

Meanwhile it's not just the police chief who's getting death threats - Chief Tyler Brewer says the officer who shot the dog is getting his life threatened too, and those threats are coming from all across the country.

It has the police department taking extra precautions.

"I received a phone call at home and someone told me I needed to take care of the officer that did the shooting, or my family and I would be killed," Brewer said. "I've been a lot more careful in the way I've conducted my business around my residents because some of these have come all the way from New Jersey, Saint Louis, California - you just never know.

About a dozen people gathered across from the police department for a vigil tonight, to support Alan Fitzgerald, the veteran whose dog was killed.

They were also protesting in hopes of getting more information on what led up to the shooting. The sheriff's office was also present, to make sure both protesters and the community stayed safe.

Fitzgerald posted publicly on Facebook Wednesday saying, "Due to the threats of violence and the overall disregard for others rights that have been associated with this vigil, I will not be attending. I want Midnite's passing to be a peaceful vehicle for change within the system. There has been enough hurt."

The police chief says he would like to help the veteran get another service dog.

"I don't blame him for being upset that his dog was killed. That's gotta be an awful thing for a person who has served our country, and then been through what he's been through. I feel for him. I've been praying for him," Brewer said.

In a video interview, owner says his dog "loves chasing cats" and was just trying to "play" when it jumped on top of his neighbor's tiny dog which started "screeching"
He darted out my door, chasing a rabbit, cat whatever it was. Ran down the road to the neighbors... ran faster than I did obviously I heard a little dog barking, screeching, whatever... so i was hollering out its name by the time i got to its house he had already come back towards me. so i led him over to the house... went back over to the house where he was at.. talking to dog's owner she was holding dog. basically in my opinion, was midnight likes to 'play with small dogs'... the dog was "emotionally upset you could tell". I apologize he doesn't do this but he must've seen a cat. HE LOVES CHASING CATS..."


According to police, Midnite bit Fitzgerald's 16-year-old nephew in 2016, sending him to the hospital where family members say he received stitches after the dog "ripped his face up good". Police did not know about that incident until after Midnite was killed.


One article says:
Fitzgerald said that Midnite went through training and became a certified ADA service dog through Family Dog Training and Behavioral Center. They confirmed the dog was trained there, passed all necessary tests and did not show any aggression. The trainer said that because Midnite was a German Shepherd, it's not uncommon for them to protect their home.
However, a second article says:
The Valley Center trainer described the dog as “an alpha male,” “territorial” and “very protective"

The Americans with Disabilities Act says there is NO certification to become an "ADA Certified Dog"
Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.

There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.

In my opinion this dog was not a legitimate service dog. Remember, because the "Family Dog Training and Behavioral Center" told Fitzgerald he had a trained service dog, he was allowed to take it anywhere -- to the movies, to a restaurant, to the grocery store, on an airplane, to the library. Think how many opportunities this dog was around children and could have attacked? High prey drive animals often see children as prey.

(KWCH - April 19, 2017)