In a 90-minute hearing, the Burlington Animal Board decided to return the German shepherd mix, named Sammy, to the family a Burlington police officer in Iowa shot, but accidentally killed a young mother, reported kcci.com.
The board determined the dog was not vicious or dangerous and should be returned to the family. A witness reported the dog approaching Steele in a playful manner and saw no signs of aggression.
No charges will be filed against the officer.
Autumn Mae Steele, 34, had been arrested during a domestic dispute, and when released from jail on January 6, was told she could not return to her home to collect her personal items without being escorted by a police officer. Once at the home, Autumn Mae was reported to have been in another escalating argument with her husband.
As the officer tried to quell the disturbance between the couple, the family’s German shepherd approached, surprising the officer who allegedly felt threatened by the dog’s presence. As he turned around and fired several shots at the dog with his revolver, a bullet hit Steele in the chest. She later died at the hospital. The dog was also injured.
Autumn Mae was shot in front of her four-year-old son.
Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers has elected not to file charges against the Burlington Police Officer, Sergeant Jesse Hill reports kbur.com. In an eight-page decision, Beavers justified her reasoning, stating the dog growled and allegedly bit the officer on the thigh; an injury Beavers stated was photographed. She called the death of Autumn Mae “a very tragic, accidental death.”
“After asking Gabriel to restrain the dog, Hill drew his gun. The dog continued to approach. This, according to DCI’s investigation, is when Hill fell backwards, firing two shots; at least one of the bullets grazed the dog and struck Autumn in the chest.”
Hill stated he did not use a taser against the dog because he had been involved with a vicious dog months before, and the taser did not incapacitate the dog.
Beavers stated that neither murder, nor manslaughter applied to the case, and Hill was justified in drawing his gun and shooting because the dog had jumped on his back.
A statement from Adam J. Klein, Esq., the attorney representing Autumn Mae Steele’s family disputing the decision of Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers can be found by clicking here.
It is not known if and when Hill will return to duty.
More about the original story can be found by clicking here.
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