O’Fallon Couple, Police at Odds After Officer Shoots at Dog

Police say the officer acted appropriately after dog charged him

click to enlarge Six-year-old pit bull Chino was shot at two Saturdays ago.
Courtesy Dylan Stoudt
Six-year-old pit bull Chino was shot at two Saturdays ago.

An O'Fallon couple is irate after a police officer standing in the street outside their home shot at their dog when, they say, the animal was on their driveway.

The O'Fallon police, however, say the dog was charging the officer and was possibly on the street or very close to it when the officer fired the single shot which scared the dog away without injuring it.

Dylan Stoudt, 35, was watching the Chiefs-Bears NFL preseason game on Saturday, August 13, when around 3 p.m. he went outside to smoke a cigarette and let his 6-year-old pit bull Chino out into the yard.

The next thing he knew, a shot rang out.

"That all happened within a matter of like five to six seconds of me opening that door," Stoudt says.

Earlier in the day, according to police, a neighbor had called police because someone was "shirtless and acting strange," trying doors on houses to see if they were unlocked.

When Stoudt let Chino out, Stoudt says that the dog noticed the officer and started moving down the driveway towards him.

click to enlarge Chino the dog with Kasey and Dylan's Stoudts' two sons.
Courtesy Dylan Stoudt
Chino the dog with Kasey and Dylan Stoudts' two sons.
"[The officer] goes, 'hey, hey!' screams two times as he was backing up, taking steps backwards real fast, trying to unholster his gun," Stoudt says.

According to Stoudt, his dog barked and the officer fired his gun "from the middle" of the street while Chino was still on the driveway.

The shot missed, striking the ground, and Stoudt says it ricocheted into his house, hitting the wall of his child's bedroom on the townhouse’s second floor.

The O'Fallon Police Department has a slightly different version of events.

Sergeant Bryan Harr with O'Fallon police says that when an officer arrived in the neighborhood and got out of his car, the dog began charging toward him.

"When the dog gets to the edge of the property line and starts to enter the street, that's when our officer fired one round towards the dog," Harr says.

Harr says the bullet ricocheted off the road, which he says leads him to believe the dog must have been in the street because the officer was presumably firing at the dog. He adds that the bullet did not strike the Stoudts' house.

Harr maintains the firing of the shot was appropriate, adding, "We're happy that the dog wasn't hurt … no one wants to have it end the other way."

Afterwards, Stoudt says, "nine, 10 squad cars show up. They blocked my entire street off, they crime-scene taped my house, then they start treating me like a criminal."

Stoudt says he was asked several times if he'd gone over to his neighbor's house, pulled at the front door and run away.

Farr says that the man who made the original 911 call said the shirtless man acting suspicious was Stoudt himself.

Stoudt, a father of two who runs a residential and commercial painting business, was adamant he hadn't been doing anything of the sort that afternoon. He'd made rice and salmon and watched the Chiefs lose.

Either way, after two hours, the police left the neighborhood, Stoudt says.

Stoudt's wife Kasey later wrote on Facebook that the officer apologized. She added: "I am so sick over this … I’m nervous every time I go to let my dog outside."

Then two days ago, the Stoudts got a citation from O'Fallon police over the incident. The charge listed on the citation was "animal at large."

Stoudt called the citation "a real kick in the face."

Farr says the citation stems from the dog being outside without a leash, which is a violation of a city ordinance.

As for where the officer's bullet ended up, Farr says that the police processed the area and found no property damage.

Stoudt says that the bullet ricocheted into the second floor of his townhome, striking the exterior wall of his five-year-old son’s bedroom. He says luckily neither of his boys were home at the time.

"We checked the area for any damage, and we did not find any. We did locate something on the owner of the dog's house," Farr says. "We talked to them and they stated that was from them hanging Christmas decorations."

click to enlarge What the Stoudt's say is a bullet hole in their townhome.
Courtesy Dylan Stoudt
What the Stoudt's say is a bullet hole in their townhome.
The officer's dash cam and body camera footage will clear up some of the discrepancies related to where exactly Chino was when the officer fired the shot as well as, perhaps, where the bullet wound up.

Farr says that the video won't be made public until after September 26, when Stoudt has a court date for the ordinance violation.

This is not the first time officers have shot at a dog in recent months. In May, St. Charles County Sheriff’s deputy Ryan Kuehner shot and killed his neighbor's dog, Apollo, with a pellet gun. Kuehner was subsequently fired from the force and charged with misdemeanor animal abuse.

Though they both operate within St. Charles County, the sheriff’s department is an entirely separate law enforcement agency from the O'Fallon Police Department.


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About The Author

Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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