An incident involving a Mobile Police officer on Friday afternoon left one dog dead and another wounded on Clearmont Street.
The dogs’ owner Mark Yeager said there were several officers in the area when he returned to his home adjacent to Murphy High School around 1 p.m.
“I got out of the car and the Murphy security guy came up to me and said ‘If you see two guys running around the area, let us know,’” Yeager said. “I told him he wouldn’t be in our yard because of our dogs.”
A few minutes later, Yeager and his wife noticed a MPD officer walking up their driveway.
Yeager said he didn’t think anything of it because he had already spoken to the security officer from MHS about the situation.
“I looked out the side window and saw the policeman back up with his hands on his gun and then bam bam,” Yeager said. “I went out there and both my dogs were shot. One of them was dead and the other wounded.”
Yeager said the officer, who has not been identified, fired two shots, one killing his dog Alfred and other striking his dog Bobidae in the ear.
Immediately following the incident, the officer stepped back outside of the gate.
Yeager said he sat with Alfred until he died ten minutes later.
Both dogs were obtained through the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) and have lived at the Yeager’s home for 12 years.
“This is their home and that’s their domain,” Yeager said. “They don’t let anybody come in the back yard.”
Terrance Perkins, public information officer for the MPD, said the pursuit in the area began after two suspects fled on foot while being questioned by MPD officers.
“The officer has reason to believe the suspects were in the area where the dogs were,” Perkins said. “They were running and jumping fences in the area. When the officer cleared the fence, the dogs lunged at him and he fired two shots.”
Yeager said the officer would have had to move a plank to gain access to his backyard.
According to Perkins, the two suspects were eventually caught and charged with attempting to elude, failure to obey and other charges that are unknown at this time.
The name of the two suspects is also unknown at this time, as is the reason they were initially being questioned.
“I completely understand the officer was trying to do his job, but my dog was doing his job,” Yeager said. “It was an unfortunate situation, and in my opinion, they didn’t handle it as well as they could have. Common sense would tell you to tell residents, ‘stay inside, there’s people running around and we’re trying to catch them.’”
Perkins said MPD officers receive annual training on how to deal with aggression from animals.
“Keep in mind, it was a fresh pursuit and they were actively pursuing a subject,” Perkins said. “A lot of time the training we receive is responding to a call, so we have time to prepare. In a fresh pursuit, you just have to go where the pursuit takes you.”
Attempts to reach Mobile Police Chief James Barber were not immediately successful.