Another dog has been shot by a police officer.
Hydro, a Labrador Retriever, was shot by a police officer in Springfield, Missouri on Sunday evening in front of his owner and her son.
Shena Matthias called 911 to report a possible burglary in her neighborhood. Matthias thought someone might be in danger, so she reached out to police for help.
She made the call after her fiancé saw a masked man trying to get into a home near their house on the 1000 block of East Pacific Street in Springfield.
Two officers responded but went to the wrong home.
According to Matthias, the officers went to her home to clarify which residence they were supposed to be checking out. They undid the two locks on her gate before entering the property. Matthias’ two dogs bolted out the screen door and ran towards the officers.
Matthias said one officer, Tom Spence, pulled out his gun and fired three shots at Hydro, her 4-year-old black Labrador Retriever.
The Labrador spun around, stumbled, dragged himself to the porch steps and died in her arms, she said.
“I felt the warm blood dripping on my fingers,” she said. “I held him. I watched my dog’s eyes go gray. I know when he took his last breath.”
Matthias is still grieving Hydro’s death, and she is now looking for a lawyer to take her case.
“My dog died for no reason,” she said. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Hydro has never bitten anyone before, Matthias says. She believes his protective instincts were triggered and he might have bitten the officer Sunday had the officer not shot him.
But she believes that the officers should not have come into her yard the way they did.
She said she specifically told the 911 dispatcher that if the officers wanted to reach her, they needed to call her first so that she could put her dogs in a room. But the officers told her they never got that message about the dogs.
Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox said an officer asked dispatch to contact Matthias before he went to her home, but dispatch could not reach her. But Matthias said she did not have any missed calls.
“It completely could have been avoided,” Matthias said. “That officer should have made himself known. My front door was wide open, he could have made himself known.”
She said she was hysterical after her Labrador Retriever was shot, and the whole incident still doesn’t seem real.
“I was screaming frantically for two hours, you probably would have called a mental institution on me,” she said. “I laid on my dog’s dead body just holding him and telling him I was sorry.”
Matthias said she got Hydro when he was a puppy and he was for the most part a friendly pooch. The incident had been tough on Matthias, but it was even more difficult for her 4-year-old son, who witnessed the shooting.
Matthias said her son is having nightmares. The kid is also asking when Hydro will come back. Hydro’s body was in an ice-and toy-filled box as of Tuesday afternoon. The box was decorated with a card made by her son.
A local organization has also stepped up to pay for Hydro’s cremation.
“My dogs are my world,” Matthias said. “We haven’t stopped crying for days.”
In Officer Spence’s report, he wrote that he was dispatched to 1066 E. Pacific St. for reports of an abandoned house being burglarized. The officer noticed that the house was not actually abandoned and that the residents of the home told the officer there was no burglary occurring.
Spence then went Matthias’s home at 1056 E. Pacific St. to get some clarification on where the alleged burglary had occurred, the report says.
According to the report, Spence was approaching the home at 1056 E. Pacific St. when two dogs broke though the screen door of the house and attacked the officer.
It was stated in the police officer’s report that: “the dogs did not retreat and came at me aggressively to attack, forcing me to shoot one of them.”
Cox said the second dog ran away after Spence shot Hydro.
Cox also said anytime a weapon is discharged, the involved officer’s chain of command always reviews the use of force.
The Springfield Police Department’s Resistance Response guidelines state that officers “may use weapons to destroy severely injured non-domesticated animals or to defend themselves against vicious, rabid or otherwise dangerous animals.”
Cox said the officer who shot the Labrador Retriever is not on administrative leave.
Source: Springfield News-Leader