Police officer shoots service dog, Army vet owner says it was not justified

Police officer Devon Keith claims he shot an Army veteran's service dog in self defense.

A Kansas officer shot and killed the alleged service dog of an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD on Thursday contending the dog was being aggressive toward himself and an animal-control officer.

According to KSN News, Augusta, Kan., Police Chief Tyler Brewer argues officer Devon Keith and an unnamed animal control officer were serving a notice to appear to veteran Alan Fitzgerald when the dog bolted out the door startling the officer.

Fitzgerald said his dog didn’t do anything wrong and officer Keith shot him for no reason.

Problems for “Midnite” the service dog began earlier in the day when he escaped Fitzgerald’s control earlier in the day Thursday chasing after something, as he often did with rabbits and cats. Fitzgerald alleges that Midnite was down several mobile homes from his, where the dog was hovering over a smaller dog there.

“It’s how he plays,” Fitzgerald explained to KSN.

Fitzgerald tells KSN he talked with the small dog’s owner who Fitzgerald says said the small dog wasn’t hurt in the playing, just “shaken up.” Fitzgerald returned to his home to do yard work and was in the bathroom when he heard Midnite barking followed by gunshots.

“I got halfway out the door, and about right here where this crack is, there’s an officer standing with his gun pointed at me. I said ‘what are you guys doing here, why did you kill my dog?’ he details for KSN, ‘Get on the ground’, I said, ‘I’m not gonna get on the ground so I went inside and slammed the door,” Fitzgerald said.

Brewer tells KSN the two officers were going together to serve the notice because of the dog’s history.

“There’s instances where dogs have actually killed people, and I don’t expect them to be put in that situation. I also expect that people who own animals, they act responsibly. This dog, social media is saying the officers went into the residence. The officers did not go in the residence. We have other verifiable witnesses that say that’s correct, they didn’t go into the residence,” Brewer said.

Fitzgerald named several witnesses for KSN who say they saw officers enter the home, which startled Midnite.

PINAC reports neighbor Charmin Drake said the dog got out because the animal control officer actually opened the door, not Midnite, then entered without a warrant and began kicking and even hitting Midnite with a baton.

Drake said after beating the dog, officers went outside and shot Midnite.

Fitzgerald rescued Midnite in 2015 and alleges to PINAC he obtained an ADA service dog certificate, which required the dog to pass behavioral tests without showing signs of aggression, and said he had Midnite for his PTSD.

Fitzgerald showed KSN an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) card he says depicts Midnite’s service dog certification, effective in December 2016.


Chief Brewer tells KSN they cannot find sufficient documentation that Midnite is a service dog.

“We can’t find any paperwork or indication that the dog is a service dog. We’re looking into that. There are laws in the state that misrepresenting a dog as a service dog is illegal so we’re looking at that. This guy could be facing other charges,” Brewer said.

ADA guidelines have specific guidance for service dog owners. According to the ADA regulations, under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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