On July 5, a Labrador dog was shot and killed by Springfield police officer after a response to a possible burglary incident went wrong.
Now, the 911 dispatchers who received the dog owner’s call are giving their side of the story.
According to the dispatchers, they were never told about any potential dog dangers when Shena Matthias called 911 on July 5 to report a possible burglary at a neighbor’s home in Springfield, Missouri.
When the responding police officers arrived, they needed clarification on which home was potentially being burglarized and they approached Matthias’ home to sort out the confusion.
According to the police this is when two dogs burst through the screen door and attacked police officer Tom Spence. Spence shot and killed one of the dogs: Hydro, a 4-year-old black Labrador Retriever.
In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader last week, Matthias was critical of the police officer and the 911 dispatcher for their handling of the situation.
The Springfield-Greene County 911 Emergency Communications Department later issued a statement — providing some details of the call. According to the statement, Matthias said the police could contact her but she never mentioned any potential issues relating to her dogs.
Matthias later admitted that she never warned the 911 dispatcher about her dogs. She said, she asked the dispatcher to tell the officers that they should call her instead of coming to her home should they need help.
In the statement, the 911 center said the dispatcher tried to call Matthias before police went to her home but the dispatcher dialed the wrong number and got a busy signal.The center’s statement did not mention Matthias saying police should not come to her home.
A Missouri statute bans the release of full 911 calls.
A week later, Matthias says she and her family are still mourning the loss of Hydro.
Matthias admits that Hydro’s protective instincts were triggered and he may have bitten Spence if he didn’t shoot him. Despite this, she still feels that the death of her beloved Labrador could have been avoided — either through better communication by the dispatcher or non-lethal force by the officer.
She said she is now trying to find a lawyer who will take her case. She also said she hopes local officials will learn from her dog’s death and a similar situation can be prevented in the future.
“Something needs to be done,” Matthias said. “I don’t want money. Money is nothing to me. Justice is my concern.”
Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox said the police department is reviewing the shooting.
The Springfield Police Department’s Resistance Response has guidelines in dealing with animals. The guidelines say police officers “may use weapons to destroy severely injured non-domesticated animals or to defend themselves against vicious, rabid or otherwise dangerous animals.”
Source: Springfield News-Leader