Owner Of Pitbull That Police Shot And Killed Wants Answers

Posted at 6:39 PM, Feb 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-28 10:15:22-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jessica Howard got home from work around 6:15 Wednesday morning to shocking news.

Her son and boyfriend had been arrested and the family dog had been shot and killed by Grand Rapids Police.

“I found a huge puddle of blood on my driveway and my dog dead on my back porch,” she says.

Howard says she’d owned the pitbull – named Chewey – since it was just eight weeks old.

“He was a baby,” she says. “He sleeps in bed with me every night. He was a wonderful dog. He was a protector. He loved his family.”

GRPD says they fired 13 shots at the dog because it was ordered to attack them by Howard’s boyfriend, James Lawrence. Howard’s family says 11 of those shots hit Chewey, but that Lawrence never gave an order like that.

Police had followed one of two teenagers living at 106 Rose Street SW home after the two had been throwing snowballs at cars. Police say they had caused property damage.

Howard says Lawrence had told an officer to wait in the home’s driveway while he went inside to get the teenager that had come home. The officer instead followed Lawrence inside and an altercation occurred. Chewey – they say – was frightened by what was happening and broke out of his cage.

He eventually wandered out into the driveway between Lawrence and police, where officers opened fired.

“If the officer would have just stayed out of my home like he was asked to,” she says. “the situation could have been handled the way it should have been.”

“His home was invaded and he was protecting his family. And he had to get shot for that. It’s not fair.”

Howard says she’s pursuing an investigation into the dog’s death.

James Lawrence, 32, will be in court Thursday on charges of obstructing police and felony assault.

Chewey’s body is being kept on the family’s back porch. Howard says they plan to bury the dog in their back yard.

Grand Rapids Police declined to be interviewed for this story.