LORAIN, Ohio (WOIO) – A family’s pet lab mix was gunned down in their neighbor’s driveway over the Fourth of July weekend.
The 3-year-old lab mix named Dixie was shot and killed by a Lorain Police officer on July 2.
The shooting is still under investigation by the LPD Office of Professional Standards, but police released the bodycam footage on July 5 of the officer using force on the dog “in order for the Department to be fully transparent about the incident,” Acting Chief of Police Capt. Michael Failing stated.
Mellenie and Tammie Kerns’ four dogs were already on edge Sunday due to the constant crackling and popping of Fourth of July fireworks all weekend long.
“I am jumping at the sound of every firework I had a breakdown panic attack on my front porch because someone set off a firework down the street nowhere near me,” explained the dog’s owner, Mellenie Kerns. “I heard the boom and all I could remember was the bang bang bang over and over again hitting my dog as this officer unloaded into her.”
Amidst the chaos, the pups accidentally ran outside of their Lorain home on Oberlin Avenue near the intersection of West 8th Street.
It was about 1:45 pm when Mellenie noticed a Lorain Police officer pulling up.
“I thought hey this man’s gonna help us stop traffic so if any of our dogs do happen to run on the street, he’s gonna stop it that’s what most cops do,” Mellenie said.
Sadly, that’s not what happened.
Mellenie said she had gotten a hold of two of her dogs, including Dixie, when the officer started yelling.
“Dixie is not used to screaming when she’s around people they all want to play with her or let her lick them or be lovable as labs do and Dixie took off not towards the officer mind you, she was six feet away from him running that way he was nowhere near her, and she was no way near him or charging him as he claimed later on. She charged to go across the street,” Mellenie explained. “When he fired on her she was in the middle of the street on the yellow lines.”
Mellenie said the first bullet hit Dixie in the spine.
“She dropped to the ground with a yelp,” Mellenie recalled. “A car almost hit her and she had to pull herself back across the street so she wouldn’t get hit. She could not move either of her back legs. That was enough at that point. He could’ve stopped. He unloaded three more bullets into her in the driveway. There was children out and these bullets could’ve gone through my dog and ricocheted. They could’ve missed my dog and ricocheted and hit a child, a little kid.”
The family said the worst part was they weren’t even allowed to comfort their dying pup.
“The bad thing about it is they wouldn’t let us touch the dog until they took a picture and did their little thing they had to do and by that time she was already dead,” said Tammie.
“There was no aggression, nothing,” said Mellenie.
“She is one of the most lovable dogs ever possible,” Tammie added.
“This dog has never had any biting incidents,” Mellenie told 19 News. “Never had any aggression filed against her. None of my dogs have had any of that.”
19 News reached out to the Lorain Police Department for comment.
Police confirmed that an officer used force on a dog.
“He didn’t care and then when he finally unloaded that last shot, he still had his gun out, but it was down,” Mellenie said. “He turned to look at us again and told my mom to go. I thought my mom was gonna get a shot when he walked up to her and started pushing her away.”
Capt. Failing said the case would be thoroughly investigated by their department’s Office of Professional Standards while Chief McCann works with several outside expert consultants who will assist and review the facts of this case.
“At this time, the Department must reserve comments until such time that the current investigation is completed,” Capt. Failing stated on July 5. “We know the public wants to know more about what happened, which is why we’re moving quickly to gather the facts. We will provide information as soon as we know more.”
“I just want justice for my dog,” Mellenie said. “I want this man off the street. I want his firearm removed. I want him in jail for as long as physically possible. This was uncalled for.”
The family claims the police department encouraged them to cremate Dixie right away.
“They had the gall to tell us to cremate her knowing there was going to be an investigation,” the dog’s owner said. “They told us where to cremate her said they would willingly take her to cremate if we followed and paid for it. We didn’t even get any notification she would need for an autopsy until after she was already in the fire.
19 News will continue to follow the police investigation.
Below is 19 News’ previous report on this story:
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