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Owner of dog shot by police frustrated by lack of answers

By McKenzie Romero and Peter Samore | Posted - Jun. 23, 2014 at 10:36 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A man whose dog was shot and killed by a police officer last week met Monday afternoon with officials from the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Shawn 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, is not on paid administrative leave as is standard procedure with officer-involved shootings involving people, police representatives said last week.

Kendall said it was police department officials who contacted him to set up Monday's meeting, which lasted for nearly two hours.

"Overall, I was very surprised and impressed with the reaction that I got from the Salt Lake City Police Department," Kendall said.

Still, he said he was frustrated police would not answer some of his questions, citing the investigation. In the end, he did not get the outcome he was hoping for.

"The discussion ended with me getting extremely frustrated and upset and having to remove myself; but I do trust in my representation, that he has my best interests at heart," he said.

Kendall wants the police officer fired, financial compensation and state laws changed to recognize family pets as more than property.

"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," he said.

Salt Lake City police detective Greg Wilking defended the officer for opening fire.

"A child is missing and, you know, if you're a parent you would want us to look everywhere for your child. We wouldn't want to leave any stone unturned," Wilking said.

A second meeting between Kendall and the department is being scheduled. Both sides said they hope to avoid a lawsuit.

A Facebook page titled Justic e 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


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