Couple Sues Police After Puppy Shot and Killed

Department has a policy that is supposed to protect dogs
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2021 12:15 PM CDT

Two years ago, a police officer in Colorado shot a puppy. The dog’s owners are suing the police department. On June 29, 2019, Wendy Love and her husband, Jay Hamm, pulled over into a parking lot to repair a box they were using in their firewood delivery business. They let their three dogs out while they worked. They thought they were parked at a vacant building—there were no cars and no signs prohibiting trespassers—but the owner of the building was inside watching them over a camera, and had called police, Denver 7 reports. Loveland police officer Mat Grashorn showed up and two of the dogs were curious and jogged over. The couple called the dogs back, but Herkimer loped up for a closer look. Without warning, Grashorn shot the 14-month-old puppy twice. The dog survived, and Love begged to be allowed to take him to a vet, but Grashorn refused.

More officers showed up and then a sergeant who finally let the couple take the dog to a vet. Herkimer made it four days before being euthanized. Body cam video shows Hamm asking why Grashorn shot the dog, to which Grashorn says he had no interest in “waiting to find out” if the dog was friendly, the Denver Post reports. The couple’s lawsuit says Love filed a complaint but Loveland police found that they had done nothing wrong. But the department policy includes a Dog Protection Act that calls for other avenues to be tried before shooting a dog. Grashorn was just steps from his vehicle and tried no other method of avoiding Herkimer before shooting him. “If you see what this officer saw in this video and think you need to shoot that dog twice, you shouldn’t be a police officer," Sarah Schielke, the lawyer who filed the suit, said. The Loveland Police Department is also being sued for breaking the arm of a 73-year-old woman they were arresting while she was picking flowers on the side of the road. (More police shooting stories.)

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