A police officer, operating alongside Animal control in Augusta, Kansas, responded to a complaint on Thursday afternoon from a neighbor of army veteran Alan Fitzgerald, stating that his service dog, Midnite, had attacked her dog. The officer then shot and killed Midnite because he “feared for his life.”
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Public Safety Director Tyler Brewer said on Friday that “we had someone call yesterday complaining about a dog attacking their dog on their property.” The story seems relatively straightforward at first, but it gets a little hazy after that, with three parties giving differing accounts of what happened. The dog’s owner, Alan Fitzgerald, the police representative, Tyler Brewer, and independent witnesses all have their version of events.
Brewer claims that when the police and animal control officers arrived at Fitzgerald’s home, the front door was open but a glass door was closed and Midnite pounced at the door when he saw the officers. The dog allegedly charged at the door a second time, breaking the glass and scaring the animal control officer so badly that he fell off the porch. Brewer claims that the police officer “feared for his life” and shot the dog. Fitzgerald was in the bathroom at the time and did not witness the event.
Alan Fitzgerald’s story is a little different. Fitzgerald, an army veteran who suffers anxiety and PTSD, rescued Midnite, an abused German Shepard, back in 2015. All she needed was a little care and training, something that Fitzgerald was willing to provide. His efforts paid off and Midnite was certified as an ADA service dog in December last year through Family Dog Training and Behavioral Center, a certification which requires passing behavioral tests without showing any signs of aggression.
Fitzgerald claims that when the officers arrived at his home on Thursday, he heard the police pounding on his front door from the bathroom, followed by gunshots and his dog whimpering. When he went to see what was happening, Fitzgerald said that the police officer then pointed the gun at him and ordered him to get on the ground. When Fitzgerald was able to go back inside later, he saw through a window officers walking around his property with guns drawn.
Fitzgerald doesn’t know a whole lot of what happened before he got to the front door, but he has some neighbors who believe they do. Witnesses have said they saw the officer bang on the door, enter without a warrant and start kicking and even using a baton on the dog. After the beating, the officers moved back outside and shot the dog and according to the witnesses, it was officer Devon Keith who was responsible, however, the police department has not released any names.
To make matters worse, on the day after the incident Fitzgerald was delivered two citations, the first for “vicious animal at large,” and the second was for Midnite “attacking” officer Keith. You can hear Alan Fitzgerald’s side of the story here.