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SALT LAKE CITY — A neighbor's dog was shot and killed during a police search for a 3-year-old Wednesday.
Around 4:30 p.m., Salt Lake City Police Department reported that a 3- year-old boy named Kelby was missing from his home near 2500 South and Fillmore Street. He was found safe in his home just before 5 p.m.
As police searched for the toddler, an officer entered Sean Kendall's yard, felt Kendall's dog, Geist, was aggressive, and shot the dog, police said. Police can lawfully enter private yards during an emergency.
Kendall said Geist, a 110 pound Weimaraner, was his hiking buddy, sleeping partner and best friend.
"He was a member of my family," Kendall said. " He was just goofy and funny and he loved to play. He was a big cuddler, a big cuddler, and now he's gone."
Marsha Stemer lives a few doors down from Kendall. She said she heard two gunshots and saw the officer leave Kendall's yard.
"That's really freaky that that could happen," she said.
Kendall said Geist had never been aggressive or lunged at anybody, so "the idea that he attacked an officer — it just doesn't make sense," he said. "I believe my dog came out of the dog kennel to see what was going on, who was here, stopped right here, and those were his last moments."
Kendall said Geist had a single gunshot wound to the head.
"Just the sheer sight of seeing my dog there — it was traumatizing," Kendall said. "Now he's dead. I have him wrapped up in a blanket in the back of my truck, and now I have to go bury him."
The Salt Lake Police Department confirmed an officer went into Kendall's backyard while searching for that toddler. Police said the officer who was searching in Kendall's yard felt the dog was aggressive and going to attack him, and that's why he shot the animal. They are investigating the incident before they issue any further statement.
Contributing: Celeste Tholen Rosenlof