Axl Rose Criticizes Utah Police After Officer Kills Man’s Canine Companion
The New York Daily News reports that police officers were looking for a missing nonverbal three-year-old boy when one of them entered the back yard of 27-year-old resident Sean Kendall on June 18. Kendall wasn't home, but his yard was occupied by his 110-pound dog, a two-year-old Weimaraner named Geist. According to a statement later released by the police department, the officer on the scene alleges that Geist approached him "in an aggressive manner," at which point "the officer, in turn, shot the dog."
The understandably outraged Kendall has aired his grievances with local media, claiming Geist was never known to be aggressive -- and pointing out that he was only doing what any pet owner would hope an animal would do in case of an intruder. "I understand the concern for a missing child. But that doesn't negate my rights as a property owner. And it doesn't replace my dog," he argued. "It doesn't justify what that officer chose to do, and that was use lethal force on my animal. Other than the fact that the officer was on my property uninvited, (Geist) was doing nothing but what a dog should do. You buy a dog to help protect your property, and that's exactly what he was doing."
Kendall, who has posted video of his confrontation with police upon arriving home after the shooting, is demanding that the officer responsible for Geist's death be fired. Describing himself as "extremely frustrated and upset" after meeting with the city's top police officials, he told reporters, "The only thing that I would be satisfied with is having this officer terminated. I feel that his judgment was completely inappropriate."
That's an opinion that seems to be shared by Rose, who vented his outrage over the story via Twitter, telling followers, "Jesus Geist! Utah cops can enter ur fenced in yard w/0 evidence of anything against u n shoot ur 'aggressive' dog rather than exit the area?" It's the second time this year that Rose has come to the defense of an animal, following the open letter he posted in February regarding the killing of a giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark.
The police department, however, is standing by the officer, who reportedly remains on duty while the incident is under investigation. Chief Chris Burbank insisted to reporters that the shooter is "a seasoned officer who has tremendous experience and, in fact, has been under fire and performed very well" and insisted, "evidence shows that the dog was extremely close, in fact within feet of the officer. We do have documentation." Moreover, argued Burbank, "Imagine what the outcry would be if … something tragic happened to the child, and we didn’t go into any yards that were fenced, we didn’t look anywhere we had access to. Exigent circumstances certainly dictate our ability to go in an unsecured yard and to check and see if a child is in there."
That's cold comfort for Kendall, who told reporters, "I’m devastated, to be honest. Geist was a member of my family. At times he was the only thing, the only person, the only comfort that I had."
The missing child was found asleep in his home less than an hour after Geist was killed.