Salt Lake police and dog owner respond to dog shooting being justified

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – A review board finds a Salt Lake officer who shot and killed a dog inside its own backyard was justified. Both the police chief and so the dog's owner are speaking out about it. On Friday, ABC 4 Utah spoke to both them.

For weeks the death of a 3 year old Wiemaraner has caused controversy all pointed at Salt Lake police. “Geist” was shot and killed by an officer who walked into the dog's backyard.

"As I walk to my backdoor I see my dead dog lying on the ground," said Sean Kendall in a YouTube video.

Many, including the dog's owner, have questioned the Salt Lake officer's actions, but on Friday a report from a Police Civilian Review Board found the officer was justified.

"Their independent review concurred with our own internal review that the officer's actions in this circumstance were in compliance with policy and procedure," said Chris Burbank, Salt Lake Police Chief.

Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank said his officer was looking for a missing child, but instead when he found the dog, the officer felt threatened, so he shot it. The review board said of it, quote:

"This investigation finds that (the officer) truly believed an emergency existed."

Geist's owner doesn't buy it.

"I wasn't surprised, when police investigate themselves typically they find themselves not guilty," said Sean Kendall, Geist’s owner.

Sean Kendall said he's pursuing legal action to change police procedures so other dog's like his, don't die at the hands of an officer. Chief Burbank said Friday that's already in the works.

"We are revamping and adding a two hour block to our training curriculum for new recruits on how to deal with it, which will expand out to police officers," said Burbank.

But if you ask Kendall, so far he hasn't seen it.

"It's been over six weeks and there has not been any action, my confidence in Chief Burbank is at an all time low," said Kendall.

ABC 4 Utah reached out to Salt Lake police to clarify when new training for Salt Lake police officers might begin, and what type of training it might be, but an officer who called back said the Chief's words would stand on their own.

Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @briancarlsontv

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