A Monticello family has filed a complaint alleging that Utah Highway Patrol trooper Sanford Randall shot and killed a dog that was not threatening people or livestock.
The dog's owners, Art and Diana Odorizzi of Monticello, said Randall had a grudge against Duke, their German shepherd, and shot him without provocation on Jan. 30. The Odorizzis filed a complaint in the Monticello justice court on Friday.Randall was off-duty at the time of the shooting and the dog was crossing a field within the Monticello city limits, the complaint says. Randall is accused of dumping the animal's carcass outside town.
Monticello police and the Humane Society of Utah have questioned Randall in the dog's death.
After conducting interviews with witnesses in Monticello on Thursday, Humane Society Chief Investigator John Paul Fox said he recommended animal cruelty charges be filed against Randall. A city ordinance bars the willful or malicious killing of an animal.
In Monticello, such cases are not prosecuted by the city attorney but instead handled by both parties in front of a justice of the peace.
Fox said that although there are indications Duke had been loose before, shooting a trespassing dog is not justified.
Fox added that he would recommend that the trooper also file a complaint against Duke's owners for allowing him to run loose.
Randall declined to discuss the incident with reporters.
It's unclear whether Randall used a state-issued weapon or a private firearm to kill the animal, and Monticello Police Department officials said they are continuing to investigate.
"We let the local authorities do the investigation and get the facts, and once that's done, we'll look at their information and evaluate what, if anything, we need to do internally," said Lt. Verdi White II, spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Diana Odorizzi said Randall had a vendetta against her dog ever since one of his 4-H lambs was killed and he believed Duke was to blame.
Randall filed a claim against the Odorizzis last May, seeking $135 in restitution and a $160 penalty for the incident. The justice court has yet to resolve that case.
"My 16-year-old daughter is just devastated because she watched him shoot our dog and throw it in the back of a truck and drive off," said Diana Odorizzi. "He should have called the pound. He didn't have to shoot it."