City Beat

Report Says SLCPD Shooting of Dog Was Justified

A Weimaraner, similar to the dog shot and killed by an SLCPD officer in June.
A Weimaraner, similar to the dog shot and killed by an SLCPD officer in June.

(KCPW News) A civilian review board’s investigation into the shooting death of a Salt Lake resident’s pet dog found that the responsible police officer acted in compliance of policy.

Back in June, Salt Lake City officer Brett Olsen was one of several officers searching a south side neighborhood for a missing three-year-old child. Olsen knocked on the front door of a home in the area, and when he got no answer, he proceeded to the backyard. It was there where he was met by resident Sean Kendall’s Weimaraner named Geist. According to the report, the dog charged Olsen, whereupon he drew his weapon and fired upon the dog, which got as close as three feet.

In a press conference on Friday, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank defended his officer’s actions.

“I am responsible for the police officers, and in this circumstance, Officer Olsen’s actions were appropriate and justified by me,” Burbank said. “So any ire should be directed at me and not the [police officers] out doing the work in this city, because they do an outstanding job.”

Burbank noted that his department is still in the process of reviewing how officers are trained to handle similar situations with animals, but he cautioned that law enforcement officials can be fallible no matter what preparation they’re given.

“I won’t stand before you today and say that my profession does not make mistakes, and in some cases, does not commit intentional acts that are inappropriate,” he said. “But the commitment here in Salt Lake City is that we will deal with those appropriately.”

Burbank previously stated that his department has received death threats related to this incident. However, Burbank said on Friday that Salt Lake City police likely will not be investigating those threats.


    Police are more dedicated to protecting each other than they are to upholding the law. This places the public in grave danger. People should seek legislative relief, beginning with forcing police to personally pay when a court finds that an affront has taken place. When the offenders can’t fully pay, no problem—delete the shortfall from others in their “department.” They’re gonna learn we care more about our pets than we care about them—with good reason.

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