INDIANAPOLIS — There are lots of things people must know about the care of their pets. That includes knowing local laws and ordinances because being unfamiliar with those regulations could place pets in jeopardy.
“Those rules can have a lot of impact on their lives and the safety of the animals that they actually own,” said Donna Casamento, CEO of Indy Humane.
Two city animal control ordinances played roles in the shooting death of a service dog in southeast Indianapolis last week.
The dog was a 10-year black Labrador Retriever named Clyde. He’s a registered service dog and the Mills family on Pappas Drive got the dog primarily for their autistic son, Mason.
“He goes everywhere with him. Whether he’s riding a bike, playing with his hover board, playing with his friends, the dog’s right there. Dog even gets on the trampoline at 10 years old,” explained Heather Mills, Mason’s mother.
Late in the afternoon of May 25th, Mason and Clyde were playing in front of the family home. On surveillance video, Mason can be seen kneeling on a hoverboard in the driveway, doing circles. Clyde is visible in the front yard beyond the driveway.
A man is seen walking down the sidewalk and crossing the driveway, heading in the direction of the yard where Clyde is. After clearing the driveway, it appears the dog and the man see each other.
Clyde moves in the direction of the man. The dog is obscured by an SUV parked in the driveway. Clyde comes back into view when he has passed the SUV. A neighbor who witnessed the incident said the dog was barking.
The man turns toward the dog and reaches into his belt as Clyde continues to approach. It appears the dog and the man are between 1.5 to 2 feet apart. Clyde’s front paw are on one side of the sidewalk. The man is backed up to the other side of the sidewalk.
The man then reaches his hands forward and fires one shot. Clyde drops immediately. The fired round struck the dog in the head.
IMPD and Indianapolis Animal Care and Control responded to a 911 call from a neighbor who witnessed the shooting.
“It was senseless, and it was reckless, and it was heartbreaking. The dog was a really friendly dog,” said Scott Wechsler.
FOX59/CBS4 was provided the notes taken by the Animal Control Officer on the scene.
They are posted below. The shooter’s name has not been used in this story and has been redacted from the notes. We’ve done this because the man was not criminally charged.
Also, in the Animal Control Officer’s note the use of the term “victim” is in reference to the man who shot the dog. The officer also gets the age of Mason Mills wrong. He is 12 years old.
In the end, Clyde was found in violation of two Indianapolis ordinances. He was “At Large” or not confined by a fence or confined to a pen. The dog was also not “monitored,” on a leash or other restraint attended to by a “competent person.”
The combination of those violations and state law authorizing the use of deadly force to “prevent serious bodily injury” brought law enforcement to the conclusion that the man’s actions were lawful. No citations were issued.
Meanwhile, the Mills family has started a GoFundMe in hopes of raising enough money to replace Clyde with another service dog.