|Updated: 4/12/2012 3:26 pm
||Published: 4/11/2012 7:55 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A family pet is dead after a neighbor says he feared for his life.
Horace Matthews shot and killed 6-month-old German Shepherd, Cody. Matthews has his own dogs, but says when two strange dogs came onto his property Wednesday morning, he felt threatened. "I called 911 and said please send someone out here, not Animal Control, I need a sheriff’s deputy because the dog is aggressive toward me."
The dogs belong to Matthews’s neighbor, Jerry Donaldson, a retired Pulaski County Sheriff K-9 trainer. Matthews says, the dogs wouldn't leave his property and started growling and coming towards him. That's when Matthews says he grabbed his shot gun and killed the German Shepherd, 6-month-old Cody. The other dog ran off. "By the time he got 15 feet maybe 10 feet away from me I shot him the first time. He rolled over and hollered a little bit, and then jumped up and ran at me, so I shot him a second time. He rolled around again and I shot him a third time."
Little Rock K-9 Academy dog trainer Tony Smith helped the Donaldson's purchase Cody. "Pet quality dogs just don't have the aggression level to do police work. That's why the Donaldson's wanted Cody because he was pet quality. They have grandkids and neighbors and a lot of people over, so they wanted a dog that was highly sociable."
Smith says Cody was not an aggressive dog, and didn't deserve to be killed. "I'm sure Matthews acted out of fear, but I don't feel Cody was any threat, or had any intentions of biting him."
Smith says at 6-months-old, Cody would not have known to attack Matthews, and only wanted to play with him. "Cody, like most 6-month-old puppies, was full of energy and liked to run and play. Anything that moves they like to chase. Not in an aggressive manner, but in a playful manner."
Lt. Carl Minden with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department says Matthews had the right to defend himself and his property if he felt threatened. It's unlikely the Donaldson’s will face any fines since Cody didn't do any damage or harm anyone when he escaped from their yard.
Smith says this whole situation could have been avoided if Cody had not escaped. That's why he says it's so important people keep their pets properly restrained and confined.
Matthews says he's sad he felt he needed to kill Cody, but he's grateful no one else got hurt. "What if it had been a kid or an older person? What could they have done?"