SALT LAKE CITY -- A dog owner in Sugar House is demanding that Salt Lake City Police terminate an officer after his pet was shot and killed by authorities during a search for a missing child.
Sean Kendall came home last Wednesday to find his 2-year-old Weimaraner, Geist, shot dead in the head.
“They were very receptive to how I was feeling, and what I was experiencing and what I wanted to accomplish with this situation,” Kendall said.
With his attorney present, Kendall conveyed a list of three demands, which he feels would prevent a similar incident from happening again.
“I want justice for my dog, which was wrongfully killed in his own backyard. I want to educate law enforcement, so that this situation doesn’t happen again,” Kendall said. “And I want legislation passed that will recognize pets as a member of the family and not property.”
While he contends he is not seeking to profit from the shooting, Kendall believes the emotional harm caused by Geist’s death should be taken into consideration.
“It’s really difficult to put a value on something the state recognizes as property, but in my eyes has so much deeper meaning,” Kendall said.
Police met with Kendall for two hours and plan to do so again in the near future.
“It’s a tragic situation that we didn’t want to have happen. And we feel for him,” said Det. Greg Wilking of Salt Lake City Police Department.
According to authorities, while they do not typically enter a property without permission, they felt the search for the child was an emergency.
“There are extenuating circumstances that a child is missing, and if you’re a parent, you would want us to look everywhere,” Wilking said. “We wouldn’t want to leave any stone unturned.”
The rationale for what the officer did next is still up for debate.
“I can’t comment on what the officer should or shouldn’t have done. I wasn’t in that situation.” Wilking said. “The officer did what he did in the moment to avoid being bitten, possibly.”
Kendall has yet to decide if he will pursue legal action against the department.
“The police, I feel, have great authority and power and with that they should have higher punishments,” Kendall said.