Dog death in Lyman causes outcry from family - Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Dog death in Lyman causes outcry from family

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A Lyman family mourns the loss of its dog, which was shot to death over the weekend.

Police say the Rottweiler attacked an officer, while the family says there's no way that the dog would have acted aggressively.

Now,a key piece of missing evidence could differentiate between a heinous crime and justifiable self defense.

Raul Ayala's Rottweiler "Bos" escaped from his kennel on Saturday. Lyman Police Officer Ray Huffman spotted the dog while on Patrol and tried to return the dog to its home.

"In this case, the officer tried to put the dog back in the kennel, and became aggressive towards him," explains Lyman Police Chief Jeff Chitwood. "At that point he has no choice to defend himself in that situation."

Surveillance video shows the officer shot and killed the dog in front of its kennel. Ayala received a phone call from his brother-in-law shortly after, who had to be the bearer of bad news.

"And he says, 'Hey, your dog is dead.' And I didn't realize-I didn't believe it at first," explains Ayala. "I didn't want to believe it because it was so painful. It was a great, loving dog."

Raul's sister-in-law Kathy Gonzales recounted going up to the officers afterward, "I told him, 'Why did you shoot him? Why did you kill him? He was a family pet, he was just a pup."

Gonzales says that Officer Huffman told her that he was being attacked. She questioned him on why there were no cuts or bite marks. She says that he told her that the dog attacked, and he responded.

Currently, the biggest grey area is verifying if in fact Bos acted aggressively towards the officer.

Lyman City Attorney Audrey Elliot says the police report cannot be released because it is an active investigation and other agencies are involved.

Raul Ayala has seven other surveillance cameras around his property, but would only show KOTA Territory News the footage from one camera where Bos was fatally shot. He says he wants to confer with an attorney before going public with the footage.

But neighbors say they have never witnessed any aggressive behavior from the young Rottweiler.

"He was never aggressive," says  Rayanna Widger, "There's cats running down the alley- this dog never ever tried to be aggressive towards them. There's little kids around here. This dog was never mean. I know a mean dog- this wasn't it."

Chief Chitwood says if that if the dog did attack Officer Huffman, firing shots is permissible under state law. "With the information I have at this point, I do stand behind our officer. I understand there is some public outcry. BUt what's a bit puzzling is Mr. Ayala has not come in to file an official complaint or provide any evidence they may or may not have. He is more than welcome to do that. Until that happens, this is all the information we have to go with."


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