According to Fox4KC News, a Missouri family is heartbroken after a police officer shot and killed their dog in their own yard December 17 as children watched. A video interview of the family can also be seen at the Fox link.
Ray and Rhiannon Wilhite, the owners of a three-and-a-half year old golden retriever named Marley said a Camden police officer shot and killed their down in his own yard, and in front of their children.
Marley had gone to the neighborhood bus stop, where he enjoyed hanging out with the children. The afternoon of December 17, Marley was barking at a little girl and following her down the street.
Later in the day a Ray County Sheriff’s Deputy vehicle pulled into Rhiannon’s driveway, where he later identified himself as a police officer with the City of Camden.
The officer explained Marley needed to be leashed when the children got off of the bus. Rhiannon told the officer she was trying to get Marley back into the house when he ran off. Then the unthinkable happened. Marley came running around the side of the house. Rhiannon stated what happened next in an interview with Fox
“When I looked that’s when I heard the shots. He shot him once then shot him twice, then there was a pause and he shot him a third time. I heard my kids screaming and I ran into the house. They become your family members and like I told some of my closest friends, I watched my family member get murdered.”
Ray Wilhite added
“I saw Marley get shot the second time, he fell on the ground. Then probably 30 seconds, at least 30 seconds after that of being on the ground he shot again, the third time.”
Wilhite said the officer claimed he “feared for his life,” and was afraid he would be bitten. Marley had no history of aggression.
Rhianna tried to file a complaint through the Camden Police Department, but they directed her to the Ray County Sheriff’s Office. She was told the sheriff’s office doesn’t do internal investigations, and she’d need to go to the Attorney General.
Fox4 learned the officer probably did work for both departments. In an attempt to get the police departments side of the story, Fox4 was hung up on twice by staff and said they wouldn’t talk to news media.
Being the last image the children had of Marley before he was shot, the Wilhite children say all they want for Christmas is to have their dog back.
Instead, Raymond borrowed a shovel and buried Marley in the back yard, where everyone gathered to say goodbye.
Unfortunately, this is another case where the family would be well advised to dig up their dog for a necropsy. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn Marley was retreating from the officer at the time of the shooting.
For a complete searchable database on dogs shot by police, the Puppcide project can be found here.
The Ray County Facebook page can be found here, and can be reached at (816) 290-5631.