WYNNEWOOD, Okla. — “There’s something wrong with Opie.”
Vickie Malone heard those words come from her young son as he stared outside the window of their Wynnewood home.
Malone had just taken in the children from outside where they had been playing while celebrating the birthday of her five-year-old son. Inside the birthday cake and ice cream hadn’t even been served when they heard the bang from outside.
That bang was the sound of a Wynnewood police officer shooting the family dog. Opie was a three-year-old American Bulldog and Pit Bull mix. To her son Eli, he was his best friend.
“I would have fun with him when he runned around and we played tag,” Eli told FOX 25.
The adults ran outside to see Opie near the fence that surrounds their yard.
“He [Opie] was over here kicking and gasping for air,” Vickie said.
The police officer used a high-powered rifle he retrieved from his police vehicle to put the dog down. He fired two more shots from the rifle in front of the children.
Malone said the officer initially told her the dog had lunged at him through the fence.
According to the Wynnewood police chief, the dog charged the officer.
While he declined our multiple requests for a recorded interview, Chief Ken Moore said the officer told him the dog was vicious and attacked him by coming around the corner of the house. Moore said the officer tried to kick the dog off him once and then shot him.
However, the chief said he had not seen video of the aftermath of the shooting which was provided to FOX 25. The video shows the dead dog with a gunshot wound to his head lying near the fence, not near the house.
The police chief said the officer was serving a warrant, which gave him legal authority to be on the private property. However, the Malones said they were never shown any warrant. They were only told the officer was looking for someone who had listed that address as his ten years ago.
“He said he was checking to see if a guy name Shon McNiel lived here and no one here has heard of talking about,” Malone said. The warrant for McNiel was from a 10-year-old case and the police chief said the Malone house was his last known address.
However the police chief said the department was aware the Malones had lived there for the past year. He also told FOX 25 the address was a “rent house” and that multiple people had “moved in and out” in the past decade. Moore defended the officer’s presence there saying he “had to start somewhere” in his effort to serve the warrant.
“I respect what the police do, but this was senseless, but he didn’t show any remorse and didn’t even act like he was sorry or anything,” Malone told FOX 25.
The Malones believe the death of their dog could have been avoided either by the use of less-lethal force or by fact checking on the warrant.
No matter what the reason behind the death of Opie, Eli says he misses him. He made a small wooden cross to mark the backyard gravesite.
It hurts to lose a good friend; Eli says it hurts that no one with the Wynnewood Police Department has said they’re sorry.