SLC police reviewing training for animal encounters, rally planned in support of dog shot by cop

A photo of Geist, a dog shot and killed by a Salt Lake City Police officer during a search for a child reported missing.

A photo of Geist, a dog shot and killed by a Salt Lake City Police officer during a search for a child reported missing.

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Police Department plans to look at its training for encounters with animals, and the move comes after an officer shot and killed a dog in a fenced backyard during a search for a missing child.

Geist, a 110-pound, 2-year-old weimaraner, was shot and killed by an officer who said he entered the backyard while looking for a 3-year-old that had been reported missing; the officer said he felt threatened by the dog, though the dog’s owner was skeptical.

Police Chief Chris Burbank has contacted the Humane Society of the U.S. to discuss dog encounters, and he said the department is reviewing training policies. Burbank also plans to meet with Geist’s owner, Sean Kendall, sometime next week.

Supporters of Kendall and Geist who are advocating for changes to the way police deal with dogs have planned a peaceful rally for next Saturday. The “Justice for Geist Rally” will be held next to the Salt Lake City Police Department June 28 from 10 a.m. until about 1 p.m., according to a press release from event organizers.

The press release announcing the rally stated organizers want officers held accountable and: “This police officer is in violation of cruelty to animals and should be arrested under those charges. Until then, the people of the State of Utah will protest and rally. The citizens of the State of Utah will also be seeking changes in the law to protect people and their dogs from police misconduct and excessive force, and we are contacting the state legislators presently to affect great changes.”

FOX 13 News will have more details as they become available.

16 comments

    • trollololol

      You are the most negative/pessimistic person that posts on these forums. I am a dog owner myself, but if that officer had any reason to believe the missing child was there and in danger then you better believe he was justified to be there. It’s unfortunate what happened, don’t get me wrong, but blindly believing solely what the media reports pathetic.

      • Art 2060 Blog

        I’m the first one to be skeptical of what the media tells me and I know there is much that is left out a lot of the time…. however, if there’s a shred of truth to this article, then the judgment of the cop needs to be called into question. The question needs to be asked – if a ‘threatening’ (yeah, a weimaraner – read up on the breed) dog couldn’t get out of the yard, HOW would a 3 year old get in there? AND, if he was taken in there, why on earth would a firearm be shot twice with a toddler possibly in the yard? There’s a lot we will never know, but this cop really doesn’t have the judgment for this line of work.

      • Trish Ramirez

        You’re wrong, Troll. The cop had NO legal basis for entering someone’s private property without permission or without a warrant. Read your Constitution. He never should have been in the dog’s yard in the first place. The COP put himself in harm’s way by ignoring the Constitutional rights of the homeowner. If he had even a basic understanding of Constitutional law, he would have waited for a warrant to step FOOT in that yard if he was incapable of securing the property owner’s permission.

        EVERYTHING that happened that day were the direct fault of one trigger-happy cop who didn’t know basic American law. If the cop had been following the law, he never would have encountered the dog, let alone been threatened by it, let alone felt the need to shoot it.

        Even if he felt threatened, he could have exited the property, could have tazed the animal, could have done any number of things rather than use DEADLY force.

        Shame on him, and shame on you for defending the gross violation of your fellow citizens Constitutional rights.

        (BTW, being able to see reality for what it is is does not make me a negative person. Open your eyes, sheep.)

  • tal

    this cop must be fired…. and laws must be chance police n no one should have the right to just enter someone property without consent much less shoot a pet who lives there…. This is abuse or power n animal cruelty…. again this police officer should be fire…. it seems that law abiding people better begin building tall concrete fences to keep out outsiders.. it seems we are not even safe from some of those that are suppose to be protecting us…..

  • The punisher

    Lawmakers must rewrite some stuff around here… beggining by improving the criteria of hiring humans to be come police officers instead of hiring any piece of SCUMBAG for this duty. They need a better psycological evaluation to screen some mental retarded from been officers

  • Boris Tantren

    Am sure the next time you see the news will be this:
    ‘” SLC cop cleared in shooting a Dog”

  • Fred Jenks

    i’m with the owner. If that was you or i shooting a cops dog it would be the death penalty as they are now considered police officers. I say hold them to the same standard.

  • Leigh Tatum

    the owner is Right!! This is an epidemic across the country and we have to act accordingly!
    There is also NO EXCUSE to enter private property, without a warrant!
    I mean I have been reading some of the comments and there was NO reason that I can see that a cop would have any probable cause to enter the residence AT ALL
    and in legal terms then the cop must be considered committing a crime and therefore shooting the dog was a crime.
    This in my law books makes the cop guilty of committing animal abuse and he should be prosecuted as such.
    The core problem is less about the killing of the dog and more about the police who feel that they can abuse our rights without regard
    The poor dog is merely a symptom of the disease

  • Monty Simmons

    If I were the dog’s owner, I would remind Officer Olsen the concept of Karma and that Olsen might very well have an horrible accident one day in the near future.

  • Lorraine Gaudio

    What a good dog to defend his home. I bet if the officer turned to the side and slowly exited he would have not been attacked and not needed to use deadly force. My dog would most likely reacted to same way. I don’t want this to happen to my dog. She is my baby; family. Something needs to change on the part of law enforcement. I get that a young child was missing and quick search was needed. However, the officer was trespassing and the dog did what it was bred to do. Human error!

  • Tim Stout

    Brett Olsen: You murder babies, stop with the lame excuses. Chief Burbank: Do you think your running the Third Reich get your people educated and in-line, or GET OUT.

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