Claiming the dog charged an animal control officer after ramming a door until it opened – making the animal control officer fear for his life.
But Fitzgerald said his dog didn’t do anything wrong and officer Keith shot him for no reason.
Neighbors who witnessed the shooting said the animal control officer was the one who opened the door and began acting aggressively towards the dog before shooting it.
Augusta police, along with animal control, showed up at Fitzgerald’s house Thursday afternoon after a neighbor called to complain about a German Shepard.
Fitzgerald said Midnite got out on Thursday, presumably chasing rabbits and cats as he often did. Midnite ended up several mobile homes down from his home, hovering over a neighbor’s small dog.
“It’s how he plays,” Fitzgerald explained.
Fitzgerald talked to the small dog’s owner, who said the smaller dog wasn’t hurt, just “shaken up” from Midnite towering over it.
Things settled and Fitzgerald returned home and was in the shower when he heard Midnite bark and then gunshots.
“All of a sudden, I heard this pound pound pound on the screen door,” Fitzgerald recalled.
“And I heard Midnite barking, obviously he’s going to bark because he’s guarding the house. All of a sudden then I heard shots fired and I heard my dog screaming in agony.”
Fitzgerald came out to see what was going on only to have a gun pointed at him inside of his own house.
“I got halfway out the door, and about right here where this crack is, there’s an officer standing with his gun pointed at me. I said ‘what are you guys doing here, why did you kill my dog?’ he said, ‘Get on the ground’, I said, ‘I’m not gonna get on the ground so I went inside and slammed the door,” he told KSN.
August Police Chief Tyler Brewer defended officer Keith.
“The animal control officer felt in fear for his life,” the chief said.
“These officers feel horrible for having to do that.”
According to chief Brewer, when the animal control officer knocked on the door, Midnite answered.
“The front door was open but the glass screen door was shut,” Brewer explained. “The dog rushed and hit the glass of the screen door and startled the animal control officer.”
Officer Keith was forced to shoot Midnite when the animal control officer fell off the porch, hitting his head, trying to bite the officer, according to Brewer.
But Fitzgerald’s neighbor Charmin Drake says the dog got out because the animal control officer actually opened the door, not Midnite, then entered without a warrant and began kicking and even hitting Midnite with a baton.
After beating the dog, officers went outside and shot Midnite. Then they issued Fitzgerald two citations for having a vicious animal.
Fitzgerald rescued Midnight in 2015 and obtained an ADA service dog certificate, which required the dog to pass behavioral tests without showing signs of aggression, and said he had Midnite for his PTSD.
“Whenever I was having some sort of episode of oncoming anxiety, he knew what to do. He’d come up and nudge me or do something silly. He’d turn over on his back and give that little smile, you know, that dogs give. I’m just going to miss all of that.”
Check out the Daily Haze interview with Alan Fitzgerald below.