Vandalia dog owner Kaylee Holmes, with the support of Cory Clemens, is
currently seeking what she calls “Justice for Bud” after her dog, a pit bull, was shot and killed by a Vandalia police officer on her property.
Vandalia Police Officer Daniel Smith reportedly fired off six shots, with four of the shots hitting the dog. Vandalia Police Chief Tony Laird confirmed the number of shots fired and the number that were believed to have struck the animal.
“I don’t believe it is fair to my family or citizens of Vandalia that stuff like this can happen because the cops think they can get away with whatever they like, causing people trouble, grief, and pain,” Holmes said. “This isn’t the first occurrence of Vandalia police officers killing family pets for no reason and harassment. Officer Smith also felt no remorse for the pain he caused me and my family. I am currently in the process of getting a lawyer, and fighting for justice. Bud was an innocent dog taken by the hands of a careless officer.”
Though no official police report has been filed as of press time on the incident, Chief Laird confirmed there was a January 5 dog shooting.
According to the police department, Officer Smith was patrolling the Cleveland St. area in his vehicle when he spotted a pit bull that appeared to be on a chain.
Officer Smith drove around the curve in his cruiser, and instead of following a weave of roads to eventually work his way back around to where he believed the owners of the dog lived, he parked his cruiser just past the curve on the right side of the roadway.
Since a pit bull is considered a “dangerous animal” in Section 210.210 of the city code, Officer Smith was going to inform the owners that pit bulls cannot be on leashes outside of an enclosure or pen.
These types of dogs must also wear a muzzle.
As Officer Smith walked through the yard in the direction of the Holmes residence, he then realized “Bud” wasn’t on any leash at all.
Officer Smith reported the dog had come at him in an “aggressive manner.”
With concern for his safety and the community’s safety, Officer Smith decided to shoot the dog.
“We don’t want to go around shooting dogs,” Chief Laird said. “…If we see someone in violation of an ordinance, we have to respond to that.”
Chief Laird said his officers take the matter seriously as the need to protect citizens from dangerous animals is one of the most important topics discussed in monthly Citizen Action Team (C.A.T.) meetings.
Holmes admits to letting her dog go outside to use the bathroom without a leash. She said it was too cold to stand outside with him.
“He was going potty and then we heard shots,” Holmes said. “Officer Daniel Smith fired multiple shots at him, and (struck) him four times, which led to his death.”
Holmes said even though the officer said “Bud” tried to attack him, she was surprised that this happened.
“(Officer) Smith said ‘Bud’ was trying to attack him, but ‘Bud’ has never been a violent dog; he has never attacked, bit, or growled at anyone before,” Holmes said. “We have let ‘Bud’ out to go potty in the yard without a leash before and he never left the yard and never chased anyone, or any of the multiple cats in our neighborhood. ‘Bud’ also never left our yard during the altercation, even after shots were fired. If he was a violent dog, he would have ran toward after the first shot, not away from him. I feel as if it is cruel and cold hearted to shot a dog multiple times and strike four times.”
Holmes said she felt Officer Smith trespassed onto her property since she saw blood on her property after the shooting. She didn’t feel Officer Smith was justified to get out of his cruiser and go onto her property.
She said she was troubled that the altercation happened just outside her home, where there were children present at the time and she expects they could be traumatized from the experience.
Holmes also said Officer Smith couldn’t produce video showing the dog attacking him.
No police cruiser camera captured the incident on video as the camera only turns on if its lights are activated. Even if the lights were on, the camera wouldn’t have captured anything of importance due to the cruiser facing the opposite direction of the incident.
This incident comes a little more than five years after the Vandalia Police Department shot two dogs in less than a three week span.
“Justice for Bud” on
Holmes has established a Facebook page called “Justice for Bud.” As of press time, the site has 240 “Likes.”
At about the same time the Facebook page was created, another one called “Citizens to Vandalia, MO Police-Enough is Enough” was also created and has 384 “Likes.”
One organizer of that page said approximately 350 individuals “Liked” the page in less than 72 hours.
They are currently circulating a petition that is pushing for the termination of Officer Smith and the resignation of Chief Laird.
They also want a third party person or organization to review city procedures for income revenue and expenses during up to 60 days. They hope for their findings to eventually be printed in “The Vandalia Leader.”
The petition is available at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/change-in-vandalia-missouri
More on the
According to Section 210.210, dangerous dog breeds include pit bulls, staffordshire terriers, rottweilers, akitas, chows, and wolves/wolf hybrids.
An animal can also be labeled as dangerous due to the following characteristics:
1) for biting or injuring any person, domestic animal, or pets; 2) habitually snapping at, growling, or otherwise manifesting a disposition to the line.
All dangerous animals must be registered with City Hall and have liability insurance.
The animal must also wear a muzzle and be on a leash that is no longer than four feet long while inside an enclosure or pen. Dangerous dog owners, for example, are also to have up publicly displayed “Beware of Dog” signs.
Failure of compliance could lead to a fine not less than $200 and no more than $500.
In No. 7 of Section 210.230, it states that if a dangerous animal is found at large or the owner refuses to comply and the animal is acting in a threatening manner, that the City of Vandalia reserves the right to destroy the animal without prior notification to the owner.
It also states that “in no event will the City be under duty to attempt the confinement or capture of said animal and may, within the City limits, go onto any property necessary to protect from harm any person or property from said animal.”