Great Dane Killed, Police Search For Suspect

Posted at 8:07 PM, Jun 11, 2013

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Authorities in Muskegon are searching for the person who shot and killed a Great Dane named Indy.

On Tuesday, June 11, FOX 17 sat down with Muskegon County Prosecutor, DJ Hilson. He said the person who shot Indy, if caught, could face several felony charges, including reckless use of a firearm. He also said that under Michigan law the suspect can be charged with a 4-year felony for killing an animal.

Hilson said people do have a right to protect themselves if they think they are going to be attacked by a dog. However, he doesn’t think this was the case with Indy.

“That’s just a person who decided it would be fun to shoot at a dog,” Hilson said. “To me it doesn’t make any sense.  It certainly is a crime in the state of Michigan.”

Hilson continued to say that there was no indication of aggressiveness coming from Indy at the time of his murder.

The owner of the dog, Jenn Hamm, said Indy ran off on Friday, June 7. She told FOX 17 that her husband, Clayton Finley immediately began searching for the dog by driving around the neighborhood. Finley said he caught up with Indy at the corner of Wood Street and Isabella Avenue, where a group of people were standing in front of an abandoned house. He said he watched the dog run past the crowd, but that Indy came back when he noticed his owner was there to bring him home. However, during Indy’s journey back to his family he made a stop, walking up to a member of the group who happened to be carrying a gun.

“The dog was wagging his tail. I told him ‘the dog will not hurt you,'” Finerly said. “He pulled out his gun and started shooting.”

According to Finerly four shots were fired. Two of them struck Indy. The dog then ran off and died a few blocks away from where he was shot. He said he doesn’t think the man felt threatened by the dog at the time, as Indy was not showing any signs of aggression.

“My dog was murdered in cold blood just to prove that he was cool in front of his friends,” Finerly said.

The family told FOX 17 they no longer feel safe in their home. They have plans to move in the near future. However, they said there’s still one important issue they need to address before they pack up and go.

“I’ve gotta go deal with my dog and get him cremated,” Finerly said. “Obviously we don’t want to bury him here.”

However, cremating Indy is placing a financial burden on the family. They said it will cost nearly $400.

While making arrangements for the dog’s remains, Hamm said she’s shocked that this happened.

Hamm went on to say that “this guy needs to be in jail. I want justice for Indy.  That dog was my family member. That was one of my kids. That was my kids’ brother.”

Hilson said witnesses can come forward with information by calling silent observer at 231-72-crime.