The recent fatal shooting by a Salt Lake City police officer of “Geist,” a two-year-old Weimaraner, while the animal was in his own fenced yard, has sent shock waves through the community. Although the police are conducting their own internal investigation of the incident, it appears to the public that the shooting was both preventable and unjustified.
The Humane Society of Utah is following the case closely, and hopes to see the results of the police department’s inquiry at as early a date as possible. Our main concern is why, when there are so many non-lethal alternatives available (pepper spray, tasers, batons, etc.), this officer chose to use deadly force as his first go-to option. The question that must be asked is, “Does the SLCPD have proper training to deal with situations like this one?”
Approximately 40% of people in Salt Lake City count one or more dogs as members if their households, and many are now fearful that the same thing could happen to their own pets in the future unless well-defined measures are taken to prevent such a possibility.
HSU will do everything in its power to ensure that a tragic event like this is not repeated; we are not only monitoring the ongoing investigation, we are offering to provide law enforcement personnel with proper training methods in dealing with dog issues.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sean Kendall, who lost his best friend Geist when this unfortunate episode occurred. Geist’s name, appropriate for his German breed, translates to “Spirit” in English, and it is a most fitting testament to the depth of Mr. Kendall’s feelings toward his companion. Like him, the Humane Society of Utah views pets as members of people’s families, and deplores the fact that something like this could have happened in our time and place.
The dog-owning community can show its solidarity by attending a “Justice for Geist” rally this coming Saturday, June 28th, outside the Salt Lake Police Department’s headquarters at 475 South 300 East from 10 AM to 1 PM.