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.