Man refutes Ogden police claims in fatal shooting of German shepherd

Mar 5 2013 - 7:20am

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Dan Marocchi stands with his wife, Roxanne, near where their German shepherd, Max (inset, right), was shot by an Ogden officer Sunday. The Australian shepherd mix at left has been missing since the incident. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Dan Marocchi's 2-year-old German shepherd, Max (right), was shot by an Ogden officer Sunday. The Australian shepherd mix at left has been missing since the incident. (Courtesy photo)
Dan Marocchi stands with his wife, Roxanne, near where their German shepherd, Max, was shot by an Ogden officer Sunday. The Australian shepherd mix at left has been missing since the incident. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Dan Marocchi stands with his wife, Roxanne, near where their German shepherd, Max (inset, right), was shot by an Ogden officer Sunday. The Australian shepherd mix at left has been missing since the incident. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Dan Marocchi's 2-year-old German shepherd, Max (right), was shot by an Ogden officer Sunday. The Australian shepherd mix at left has been missing since the incident. (Courtesy photo)
Dan Marocchi stands with his wife, Roxanne, near where their German shepherd, Max, was shot by an Ogden officer Sunday. The Australian shepherd mix at left has been missing since the incident. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- A pet owner and Ogden police are at odds over details in Sunday's fatal shooting of a dog by a law officer.

Dan Marocchi said his 2-year-old German shepherd, named Max, never attacked the officer and didn't deserve to die.

"The Ogden Police Department is trying to cover up a bad shooting," he said Monday.

However, Ogden Police Lt. Chad Ledford said the dog lunged at two officers before being killed.

"This could have been avoided if he (Marocchi) controlled his dogs like he was asked to do," Ledford said.

The incident began about 5:30 p.m. Sunday when police responded to a report of a man with a gun at Marocchi's residence in the 2400 block of Jackson Avenue.

Marocchi, 67, believes he was reported to police because he answered his door carrying a handgun for protection because a long-haired man, whom he didn't know, was standing on his porch.

When police arrived at Marocchi's home, they ordered him to keep his German shepherd and another dog, an Australian shepherd mix, inside.

"The owner allowed them to run out," Ledford said.

The black-and-brown Australian shepherd mix, named Rusty, escaped and hasn't been found.

The German shepherd charged at an officer, who was unable to deploy a Taser to subdue the dog, Ledford said. Then the German shepherd leaped at another officer, who knocked the dog down and shot twice with a handgun, killing it, he added.

Marocchi said he never saw Max charge the first officer or any attempt by the officer to deploy a Taser.

It only took a few seconds for Max to run from the house to a neighbor's driveway, where it was shot, said Marocchi, who believes that didn't allow for enough time for a second attack on a police officer.

However, Marocchi admits he only heard gunfire and didn't see the actual shooting.

Marocchi added that when he looked over at Max, the dog was dead in his neighbor's driveway and the police officer who shot him was about 6 feet away.

There was no report of the dog injuring any of the officers, Ledford said.

Marocchi said he was kept handcuffed in a patrol car for about 90 minutes but wasn't arrested in connection with the initial man-with-a-gun complaint.

The man-with-a-gun-incident investigation will be screened by the Weber County Attorney's Office to determine if any charges should be filed, Ledford said.

Ogden police officials will also conduct an internal investigation into the shooting of Marocchi's dog.

Police in Ogden also shot and killed a pit bull in January 2012 in the 1000 block of Patterson Avenue. In that incident, the dog reportedly approached officers in an aggressive manner.

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