Another innocent dog, Norton (Norty for short) has been gunned down in cold blood on his own property by local police. According to his owners, Norton was a friendly, fun loving, playful 2 1/2 year old pit-bull who was unjustly shot and killed in his own yard by a Lake County, Illinois Sheriff's Department officer.
I've uncovered a lot of disturbing information given to me by Norton's family. As it turns out, the death of Norton may have been premeditated as far back as October of 2012. This article is based on information given to me by Kim McDonald, one of Norton's owners.
Last fall Kim McDonald and the father of her son Mick Zimmer were enjoying a little quality time together. Mick was outside playing with the two dogs when several police officers showed up and drew their guns on Mr. Zimmer. The dogs were barking, and Mr. Zimmer was told to get the dogs inside or they'd be shot. It was at this time that Kim's 13-year old son came to the door to discover why the dogs were barking. A female deputy and several other officers then drew their guns on the teen, who ran back inside to wake Kim, who was taking a nap. Kim then went to the door to find the female deputy had her weapon aimed at the teens window.
According to Kim, "They took Mick away in a cop car and then bullied me into letting them search the house for a black and purple hoodie that the culprit was wearing. I let them search and they found no evidence at all. As they were walking out the door to leave, Officer Swanson of the Lake Co. IL police got a call on his radio that Mick was not the guy. He apologized and stated that the witnesses named Mick by name and described him and that the police department was sorry."
On Monday, February 25 around 10 a.m., Kim was awakened to banging at her front door. At her door were a Lake County police officer along with an officer from animal control. They told Kim her dogs had been running loose and the first dog had been captured. By the time Kim had gotten dressed, animal control had apprehended the other dog. Kim went to the animal shelter to pick up her dogs and bring them home.
No one was at home when Lake County deputies made their final visit three days later. On February 28 at 7:45 a.m., Mick Zimmer got a call from his mother, who is Norton's legal registered owner, telling him the police had returned to the residence and shot Norton. Their 5-year old female pit Bailey was safely in her fence. Mick arrived minutes later to find Norton with 4-6 gunshot wounds to his head. The animal control officer arrived shortly after Mick and took him to an animal emergency room, where Norton was still alive and in a coma. Due to the multiple gunshot wounds to the head, the family made the difficult decision to euthanize Norton.
After several hours of being detained, Bailey was released to the family after paperwork was filled out on him.
This would appear to be an open and shut case of a dog not being restrained and the police taking safety measures to protect the public. There are several problems with this being the true scenario. These include:
*No one can figure out how the dogs escaped from the house because the door to the house was still closed when Kim arrived. Kim stated the door latch was broken, and because of this it's a possibility someone opened the door from the outside to free the dogs.
*Eyes-witnesses stuck in traffic reported seeing Norton standing still with his tail between his legs. This isn't the picture described by the responding officers who portray Norton as an aggressive dog.
*A witness to the shooting is reported as coming out of her house with a leash to catch Norton. When she was approximately 25 feet from the officer, the officer took two steps toward Norton and shot him several times. At this time the witness screamed "Why did you shoot him? Please don't shoot Bailey!"
*Norton was shot on his own property. He was no longer running at large when the officer killed him.
Do the readers here feel there's something not quite right about the circumstances surrounding the death of this family dog? The owner's don't dispute the dogs getting out on the occasion that occurred a few days before Norton was shot and killed. It just seems strange that the door was closed and the dogs gone.
Were Lake County deputies within their rights to kill a family dog on his own property? Especially since a witness offered to assist in getting Norton back inside the fence where he may have been safe? Or is this another case where the police will claim they "feared for their safety," as this appears to be the usual excuse these days after killing a four-legged family member?
For more information, or to follow Norton's case, they have a Facebook page at Justice for Norton. The family also has a petition at www.causes.com/actions/1735651-justice-for-norton.
Your comments are welcome.