You may already be familiar with the tragic story of Lexie, the mix puppy who was cornered on her own property and gunned down by Michigan police officers, one of whom said “The only thing I’m gonna do is shoot it, anyway. I do not like dogs.” Now the officers, the city of St. Clair Shores, and the animal control officer are being served with a lawsuit for violating devastated owner Brittany Preston’s Fourth Amendment rights.
“They had a premeditated intent to kill the dog and that is exactly what they did,” Brittany’s attorney Chris Olsen told the Huffington Post.
On July 15th he filed a federal lawsuit against St. Clair Shores, officers David Jacquemain and Jeremy Moskwa, and animal control officer Tom Massey.
The officers were called about a report of a loose dog that had been barking and crying all night. They did not handle the situation carefully, and went into it knowing they weren’t going to do all they could to just get Lexie back inside.
“I don’t do snares, I don’t do dogs … I’ll shoot the f–king thing,” one of the officers said on the dashcam.
After Lexie was shot three times, she hid in the bushes to get away from her attackers. One of the officers said, “Just die, dog,” and one of them walked over to the bushes and shot her several more times. Later they discussed how to finally kill her. One of them asked the animal control officer if he would, “choke it out,” and another suggested using a shovel.
AC officer Massey said that it wasn’t a good idea because, “you know this s—t is going to be all over Facebook in an hour,” and an officer responded, “yeah, unfortunately.” Still alive, Lexie was snared and forced to walk and get into the van, where she slowly and painfully bled to death sometime between one and two hours later.
(For the full account of the incident as stated in the formal complaint, CLICK HERE.)
The following is Brittany’s story, as told on Lexie’s Facebook page:
Hello, my name is Brittany Preston. On Friday 11/22/13, early in the morning, the St. Clair Shores police shot and killed my dog Lexie while she was on our front porch desperate to come inside. Below describes the entire story in detail of what took place according to my grandpa, witnesses, the police report, and the necropsy report.
On Friday November 22, 2013, I left for work around 6pm. My grandpa whom I live with and take care of had let my puppy Lexie outside sometime around 1am when he woke up to use the bathroom. He is in the very early stages of dementia, so he had went back to sleep, forgetting he let her outside. She was let out into the fenced back yard, but the fence must have blown open while she was out there, and she got out, and walked around to the other side of the house where she sat on the porch and barked to be let back in. It was freezing that night. Witnesses say she barked for several hours.
My grandpa sleeps with a C-pap machine, so he can’t really hear when he has it on, plus his hearing isn’t the best with his age and health condition. One neighbor states that she kept looking out the window and saw that Lexie never left the porch, just paced back and forth while barking and crying. Around 6am a different neighbor across the street called the cops saying there was a dog that had not stopped barking all night. My grandpa knew how a lot of people are prejudice against Pit bulls (which she was a pit bull/Labrador mix), so we chose to keep her in the back yard when we let her out because he didn’t want any problems with neighbors. The neighbors only recognized our other dog who is a big black fluff ball named Casey; she and Lexie were buddies.
So the cops arrived and saw Lexie on the front porch. She went to the side door to avoid them and sat there looking at the side entrance. An officer knocked on the front door asking my grandpa if she was his dog. He said no, but she is my granddaughter’s dog. My grandpa then walked through the house to the side door, where the cops walked outside to the side door. My grandpa then opened the door trying to let Lexie inside the house. She had stopped barking at the cops, and calmed when my grandpa came to the door. He kept calling her name, and trying to let her in, but she got on the defense when three strange, intimidating men began to approach her, trying to catch her. What dog wouldn’t?
When she started growling, the police yelled at my grandpa to shut the door in case they had to shoot her. He refused to shut the door, and continued to stand there trying to let her in. Finally after them yelling at my grandpa to get in his house multiple times, he shut the door. Right after he shut the door, Lexie became defensive and upset, according to police she lunged at them. They then started shooting at her. Four shots were fired, but one hit the cement. Two bullets penetrated her side and one in her face. The third cop shot her again at close range. She let out a cry, she stopped, and she went to the front entrance door where she hid behind the shrubs against the house. She laid down and didn’t move, but she was still alive. In the police report, this is where they neglected to document the additional four more shots that were fired at close range.
Animal control showed up, Lexie was dragged into the street and forced to walk to the truck where she was then picked up and placed in the truck like a piece of garbage (this is on video). The door was then shut.
According to a witness the police officers and animal control officer stood around talking about their personal lives (hunting season) while Lexie was heard whimpering in the truck still hanging on to life, dying slowly, bleeding out. That same witness said the crying eventually ceased. The witness expressed concern to Tom the animal control officer, but he didn’t have a reply. Instead, he changed the subject. That’s disgusting. How could you stand around listening to a dog die in agony while you just talk about your social life?
The police department held onto her body for three days. I was finally allowed to get her frozen body back Monday morning. Those final memories of her bloody body will remain in my mind forever. I had to keep her body in my garage in a freezer over night before transferring her to a professional veterinarian Tuesday afternoon where she is being held now.
The final necropsy report is eight pages long with photos and measurements, but the condensed version from the doctor is below.
“In summary, a total of fifteen traumatic wounds were found on the dog’s body; seven of these appeared to be “Pass through” wounds and only one appeared to be an entrance wound with no exit (hole #4). One bullet appeared to be inside the abdomen per an x-ray post-mortem but it was not found during the necropsy. A likely cause of death is “bleed out” from the chest and the abdominal wounds, mainly from the liver lacerations causing hemo-abdomen and/with a contributing chest wound resulting in collapsed lung/hemothorax.”
I need justice for Lexie. I need to be the voice who makes a difference for my Lexie girl. She was a princess. She was a lovable cuddle bug. She was healthy, happy, sweet, young, vaccinated, dog friendly, kid friendly, and she was my baby. She was MY girl, and every morning when I would get home from work, I would say “Okay bed time princess.” And even though it is just me and her in a queen sized bed, she insisted on sleeping wrapped up in my legs. What those police officers did to her is horrific. She bled to death in that truck alone, scared, cold, hurt, painful, and this is not by any means OK.
Be a voice that stands out. Help me get justice for my girl Lexie. Life is not the same without her. Please… this has to stop. My mission now is to initiate making a change in policy that contains strict rules and consequences for those that choose to ignore it. Carry a tranquilizer gun instead because what is happening now is disgusting, wrong, and inhumane. I don’t care what it cost or what it takes, but I’m not giving up until it happens.
More from Brittany:
The police report is inconsistent throughout which makes me really question their accusations when describing Lexie’s behavior.
1) They refer to Lexie as a pit bull throughout the entire report. She was a mix of Labrador and “possibly” pit bull. Couldn’t they have said the “mixed breed dog” not having a clue what she was, really? Instead they try to make her sound like a monster.
2) They say my grandpa said his daughter owned the dog, then they said he claimed the dog wasn’t his. Yet, they describe how my grandpa opened the door and tried to let Lexie inside.
3) They claim there were two large dogs inside the home when police were on the property. There was only one dog inside, a black Labrador.
4) They try to justify shooting Lexie because they were afraid for kids walking down the street going to school that day, and there was NO school scheduled for that morning.
5) Why didn’t the police get a statement from my grandpa who was forced to watch Lexie die? Were they afraid it would complicate their story?
6) Most importantly, they report there were a total of five shots fired, and four shell casings found. Per the officer one of those shots missed the dog and hit the cement. The necropsy report identifies fifteen bullet holes in the body meaning a total of eight shots fired because only one bullet was found in her abdomen. That’s a pretty big deal that four holes in Lexie were unaccounted for? What does that say for the police? This was only a 45-pound dog!
Therefore, I feel that it’s very safe to assume that the aggressive behavior stated throughout the report was very exaggerated and false. She probably did exhibit fear, growling, showing teeth, hackles raised, and an assertive stance. That’s what an animal does when threatened, cornered, and surrounded by men in uniform with a pole and absolutely no clue on how to handle an animal. Maybe a can of dog food would have been a good start? The bottom line is she did not bite anyone.
Here are the facts: Lexie was a pit bull/Labrador mix, she had a collar, she was up to date on vaccines, she was good with kids, animals, people in general. Lexie was on her own property and there is no solid proof she ever left her property. She did not bite anyone and she is sorely missed.
I would also like to add that the police went to three witnesses for statements asking them to write down that the dog showed aggression. The witnesses that disagree and are disgusted by this horrific scene are afraid to speak up because they live there. The one witness lives way down the street and didn’t see anything, but she decided to add her opinion which is absolutely irreverent.
To see the complaint against the defendants in its entirety, please CLICK HERE.