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Owner of 13-pound dog shot by Sturgeon police officer files complaint with city


The owner of a blind and deaf dog who was shot and killed by a Sturgeon police officer on Sunday has filed a complaint with the city of Sturgeon. 

According to a Monday social media post from the City of Sturgeon, police were called to an area for a report of "an injured animal at large" that police "perceived to be rabid."

The post claims the officer felt that the only option was to kill the animal, thinking it was affected by rabies. However, the post states that it was later learned that the dog’s behavior was a result of being blind.

The dog's name was Teddy. He was a 13-pound Shih Tzu that was about 5 years old. He was born deaf, but lost his sight about two years ago. Teddy's owner, Nicholas Hunter, said Teddy was full of energy his entire life.

ABC 17 news reached out to the Sturgeon Police Department and Mayor Kevin Abrahamson. Abrahamson replied to ABC 17 News in an email, but did not give a statement.

The day of the shooting, Hunter was out to dinner in Columbia. He got a call that his dog was found and the city of Sturgeon posted on its Facebook page that the dog was found.

The person who found Teddy called Boone County Joint Communications and told them the dog was not a threat, according to previous reporting. Teddy was sitting next to them and drinking water waiting for an officer.

"On my way there I was notified that the police department of Sturgeon responded and that they had shot and killed Teddy," Hunter said.

Hunter then went to the police station, where he spoke with the officer who shot Teddy.

"I asked questions like if he was a harm to others or the officer himself, in which in the video, he states that he did not feel like he was a threat at all," Hunter said.

According to Hunter, the officer then said he thought the dog was hurt and that putting it down was the best choice. The officer also believed Teddy may have been a stray or possibly abandoned, according to Hunter.

Hunter said he thought the officer had little remorse for the situation. But in a video Hunter shared with ABC 17 News, the officer was heard apologizing to Hunter for shooting the dog.

"I filed a complaint formally with the City of Sturgeon and requested to speak with the mayor," Hunter said. "The mayor did not contact me, instead posted a statement contradicting everything that me and the officer spoke of, saying the officer's fear was Teddy having rabies."

The person who found Teddy told ABC 17 News on Monday that they filed a complaint with the city that morning. That person wished to remain anonymous out of fear of possible retaliation. Screenshots from that person indicate that the city's attorney received that complaint by 11:55 a.m.

In a video Hunter shared with ABC 17 News that shows his encounter with the officer, the topic of rabies is never stated. Hunter said Teddy was up to date on all of his shots, including rabies.

"The officer was going strictly based off the fact that the dog walks with his head sideways due to him being deaf and blind," Hunter said.

Hunter said Teddy had escaped his kennel and his collar slipped off. Hunter thinks Teddy's fate would have been the same even if he was wearing a collar.

"I don't (think the outcome would have been different) due to the fact that, the officer's statement to me in the video was a completely different set of answers, rather than the mayor's statement," Hunter said.

The original Facebook post made by the city has more than 240 comments as of the time of publication, with a majority criticizing the city and officer.

"I'm hoping these officers and future officers can find a way to follow the the fourth continuum, our levels, correctly versus going straight to lethal force," Hunter said. "That should always be a last resort in dealing with any life."

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Gabrielle Teiner


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