A police officer in Camden, Missouri, shot and killed a pet golden retriever as the family looked on in horror. The children ran in their home screaming, and are now devastated by the loss. The family reports that the retriever, named Marley, was three-and-a-half-years-old and had no history of aggression.
The golden retriever’s owner, Rhiannon Wilhite, described the tragedy.
“When I looked that’s when I heard the shots. He shot him once then shot him twice, then there was a pause and he shot him a third time. I heard my kids screaming and I ran into the house.”
She told local news Fox 4 that her children didn’t want anything for Christmas that year, except to have Marley back.
“They become your family members and like I told some of my closest friends, I watched my family member get murdered.”
According to the Daily Mail, on December 17, the golden retriever was seen barking at a little girl getting off of the local school bus and he followed her part of the way home. Marley had a habit of greeting the children at the bus stop after school.
Later that day, a Ray County Sheriff’s patrol car rolled into the family’s parkway. The officer explained that the retriever should be on a leash when near the bus station.
Wilhite was pulling the golden retriever into the house as the officer began to leave, but the dog got away and ran to the other side of the yard. That’s when the officer shot Marley.
Wilhite’s husband Raymond was there for the last seconds of the retriever’s life.
“I saw Marley get shot the second time, he fell on the ground. Then probably 30 seconds, at least 30 seconds after that of being on the ground he shot again, the third time.”
Afterwards, the officer claimed that he had feared for his life and thought the golden retriever was going to bite him. He left, leaving Marley’s dead body behind in the family’s yard.
“I borrowed a shovel from my dad and I went out back and buried Marley,” Raymond Wilhite said. “I dug a hole back there and I talked with Marley some more and the kids came out and they said bye.”
The family is now trying to file an official complaint, but law enforcement has been unresponsive. The local news reported that when she contacted the Camden police department they directed her to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office said they don’t do internal investigations, and the family would have to talk to the attorney general.
The police were equally unresponsive to media requests.
It seems like there will be no justice for Marley the golden retriever.
[Image Credit: Siavash Ghazvinian/Wikimedia Commons]