The officer responsible for killing a midtown resident’s dog and injuring another during a pursuit will be punished but not suspended, according to a statement from the Mobile Police Department.
A shooting review committee determined Officer Kevin Kelly did not follow police policy and unanimously recommended he be placed into an early warning system, which is a “program implemented by the MPD to seek corrective action on at-risk behavior prior to any serious misconduct,” according to the statement.
Kelly will also be remanded to 40 hours of remedial training and will receive close supervision for a period of six months, according to the statement.
On march 14, Kelly responded to the area of Murphy High School to help with a complaint of an on-campus intrusion. In an attempt to locate fleeing suspects, Kelly entered the backyard of Mark and Lynn Yeager on the 1900 block of Clearmont Street.
According to the statement, the Yeager’s dogs, Alfred and Bovidae, “became aggressive towards (Kelly)” and he shot them. A shot killed Alfred and another struck Bovidae in the ear.
Mark Yeager said MPD Chief James Barber told him about the punishment before it was released to the media. He said he was pleased to hear Barber admit that the officer failed to follow the proper procedure during the shooting.
“I’m pleased it wasn’t swept under the rug,” Yeager said. “I’m just thankful that the officer will receive additional training.”
Yeager said Bovidae’s ear is “healing up nicely.” He said the hair on the dog’s ear has grown back in, although it’s still shorter than normal. Yeager said the dog is still scared to go outside by himself.
“You can let him out and he’ll do his business on the porch and immediately begin scratching at the door to come in,” Yeager said.
Before the shooting, Yeager said Bovidae would spend hours in the backyard soaking in the sun. “He’s still a little spooked,” he said.
Barber said in the statement officers should following proper procedure when they come in contact with pets.
“It is of significant importance that we mitigate the confrontation between officers and animals and proper protocol is followed throughout the Department to minimize these situations,” Barber said. “The dogs were in their yard. They do what dogs do naturally — you can’t fault them for that. What we can look at is the reasonableness of the officer’s actions under the circumstances.”
A six-year veteran of the force, Kelly was involved in the shooting of 23-year-old suspect Shawn E. Taylor back in February. Kelly fired multiple shots at Taylor and injured him. An investigation found that shooting was justified.