OGDEN — An Ogden police officer is not at fault for shooting and killing a German shepherd at a local residence earlier this month, according to an internal review by the police department.
“After careful consideration and review of the incident, the Shooting Review Board has determined that the actions taken by Officer Brandon Rammell were justified and within the guidelines of the Ogden City Police Department Use of Force Policy … and did not violate Utah state law governing use of deadly force,” the police department said in the report regarding the March 3 incident.
The shooting of the German shepherd, named Max, owned by Dan and Roxanne Marocchi was investigated by Ogden police lieutenants Danielle Croyle and Chad Ledford and Sgt. Tim Scott.
Roxanne Marocchi disputes the police department’s claim that the shooting was justified, but isn’t surprised by the result of the investigation.
“That’s what you get when you have cops investigating cops,” she said Tuesday.
Friday night, Ogden police also shot and killed a dog they say charged them during a burglary-in-progress call at a residence in the 500 block of 7th Street.
That incident remains under investigation.
However, both dog shootings this month could have been avoided, said John Harvey, deputy director of support services for the Ogden Police Department.
“Had the owners secured their animals, those pets would still be alive,” he said in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
“Many, if not most, of our officers are animal-lovers, so when they have to defend themselves, it’s not something they relish.”
Since 2007, Ogden police have shot and killed six dogs and wounded another that was later euthanized.
The Marocchis and police are at odds over the fatal shooting of Max.
The incident began when police responded to a report of a man with a gun at the Marocchi’s residence in the 2400 block of Jackson Avenue.
Dan Marocchi believes he was reported to police because he answered his door carrying a handgun for protection because a long-haired young man whom he did not know was standing on his porch.
The individual came to the house to report that Max had run across the street, frightening him and his dog, Roxanne Marocchi said. However, she added, Max did not bite the man or his dog.
When police arrived, they ordered Dan Marocchi to keep Max and another dog, an Australian shepherd mix named Rusty, inside. However, the dogs were allowed to run outside, police said.
Rusty was later found near 30th Street and Washington Boulevard.
Max charged at an officer, who was unable to deploy a Taser, then leaped at another officer, who knocked the dog down and shot twice with a handgun, killing the animal, according to police.
Marocchi said he never saw Max charge the first officer and never saw 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 he was shot, said Marocchi, who believes that didn’t allow enough time for a second attack on a police officer.
The incident should serve as a reminder that residents should keep their pets secured, particularly if they are calling for police assistance, Harvey said.
“Officers are trained to deal with aggressive animals, and they can usually determine if an animal is afraid, protecting their turf or about to attack, but these issues become moot when the pet owner secures the animal.”