Riverton family dog faces death or exile after allegedly biting child

Posted at 10:09 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 00:15:08-04

RIVERTON, Utah -- A Riverton family pet has been sentenced to exile or death for allegedly biting a 2-year-old boy while at a restaurant near Bear Lake.

The entire incident was caught on the restaurant's security camera. The dog's owners say people are rushing to judgement.

Zips restaurant security video was taken of the incident back on Aug. 22, 2015. You see two children walking toward the Great Pyrenees, Lilly, but what happens next depends on who you ask.

The Rich County judge and prosecutor in the case said Lilly bit the child. Owner Shauna Thompson said the boy stepped on Lilly's tail and fell.

"It was my husband pulling Lilly back, we believe that his arm was stuck in the prong collar, we don't believe she bit because there were no puncture wounds, there were no bite marks that you would expect," Thompson said.

Thompson also said law enforcement failed to interview key eyewitnesses, relying mostly on the surveillance video.

"There was a girl working at the Zips counter and she came up to us and said she saw everything, 'the kid stepped on your dog's tail and fell,'" Thompson recalled.

Thompson is proud to show off all the training certificates and awards Lilly has received, but she said ever since this video surfaced she has been labeled as a bad owner with a bad dog.

"I've gotten death threats, I fear for my life, for my safety, I'm scared to be in my home, I feel people have portrayed me as being irresponsible, not caring about this child, who I deeply care about," Thompson said.

More than 18,000 people have signed an online petition to save Lilly's life on the website The Thompson family is in the process of appealing the judge's decision.

"Don't murder my dog, she's a good dog, despite what the video shows she is a great dog," Thompson said.

According to Salt Lake County Animal Services this isn't the first time Lilly has been in trouble. She also bit a child in Riverton during that same time, August 2015. The parents of the child didn't press any charges.