Noah Malone was celebrating his 5th birthday on July 16 when a police officer shot and killed his pet dog.
His mother, Vickie Malone, told The Huffington Post that she had just herded all the party-goers inside her Wynnewood, Oklahoma, home for cake and ice cream when they heard a gunshot.
“We weren’t in the house two or three minutes and there was a loud bang,” she said.
Opie, a 3-year-old American bulldog and pit bull mix, was lying on the ground “kicking and gasping for air,” with blood streaming from his head. Malone said the officer matter-of-factly told her 21-year-old daughter, “Ma’am, I had to shoot your dog.”
While nobody disputes the officer shot the dog, it’s not clear what happened in the moments leading up to it. Both Malone and her oldest son, 23-year-old Rio Youngblood, said the officer told them Opie tried to attack him “through the fence,” presumably referring to the chain-link fence that surrounds the yard to keep Opie from roaming off the property.
He told news station KOKH that the officer was already inside the fence when the dog ran around the corner of the house and attacked him, and that the officer tried to kick Opie off before ultimately shooting him in self-defense.
But Youngblood and Malone say that the dog, which Youngblood raised from a puppy, would always immediately run to the gate whenever any visitor showed up. There is no way that anyone could have gotten inside the gate without Opie being right there, they said, so it’s impossible Opie could have run around the corner of the house to surprise attack the officer.
And if the dog had really attacked through the fence, Youngblood said, it wouldn’t make any sense to shoot him, since the dog couldn’t get through the fence.
Malone said Opie never hurt anyone in the past and was skeptical there had been any attack at all, through the fence or not.
“These kids, they range from newborn to 8 years old,” she said. “They run around and play with him. My granddaughter, she sits on his head and takes food out of his mouth.”
Moore said the officer was on the property because he was trying to serve a warrant to a man whose last known address from 10 years ago was at the house. That man has no connection to the family living there now, the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat reported.
Malone and Youngblood said the cop has been to the house before, so he knew who lived there ― including the dog. Moore told FOX 25 that the department did indeed know Malone’s family lived at the house, but that the cop “had to start somewhere” with the warrant.
Malone said her young children miss Opie and don’t want to go outside and play anymore.
“Opie wasn’t a dog,” she said. “He was our family, he was our friend.”
Both she and Youngblood want to see the officer off the force.
“I respect what police officers do for our community,” Youngblood said. “But not the shit that happened at my house.”