Ralls Co. residents respond to dog shooting

Photo of Chopper

Dog owner Marvin Green would like an apology and answers from the Ralls County Sheriff's Office.

Meanwhile, the women who say they were attacked by three of Green's dogs want to educate the public about what can go terribly wrong in the animal kingdom.

Shari Couch and Rhonda Zumwalt said they had never been so scared in their lives. Couch said she was doing chores when two of her neighbor's dogs walked into her pasture near her horses.

"I grabbed a halter and lead rope to drive the dogs back home," Couch said.

The female brindle dog ran back home. Couch said the male brown dog wouldn't back down.

"He would retreat as long as I would push him," she said. "But the minute I tried to retreat, he would lunge at me."

Couch's mother, Rhonda, handed her a roofing fork to try to scare the dog away. The two women got the dog to the property fence line but then found themselves being chased.

They climbed a fence, called 911 and waited there for about 20 minutes.

"I was trying to notify the neighbors so they could call them back home, and there was no one home at the time," Couch said.

Couch said when the dog got tired and went to sit in the shade, her mother got down from the fence and ran safely to the other side of a gate. But when Couch tried to do the same, the leader of the pack along with two other dogs started charging toward her.

Couch's uncle had pulled in by that time. He and another man started running toward the dogs, forcing all three dogs back to their property.

By that time, the Ralls County Sheriff along with two sheriff's deputies showed up to put the dogs in their pens.

"They tried very hard to get him in the pen without anything happening," Couch said. "He lunged at him, and he got really close, and that's when I heard them fire their gun. Very sorry that happened, but they did try."

Marvin Green had been out of town for a couple of days. He and his kids came home to find their dog, named Chopper, dead on the roadway leading up to their home.

Green was asked if his dog had ever shown aggression before.

"Not at all," he said. "My kids love him and stuff. They wrestle around. I value my dog's life. I treated him like a kid. I dug a hole and sat there with him for hours last night. Made a blanket for him, wrapped him up in a nice blanket and everything. It was hard putting the dirt over it. It took me hours to do it."

Green said there is one thing he'd like to see happen next.

"An apology to my 12-year-old son having to come home to 'why is my dog lying there not moving and in a puddle of blood with a hole in his head?'" Green said.

"This is a terrible tragedy," Couch said. "My heart goes out to the family. My heart goes out to the officers involved, because they did not want to do what they had to do. I just want public awareness. Check your cables. Make sure the dog's enclosure, they can't get out of."

"We love animals," Zumwalt said. "It just makes us sick what happened. At the same time, we were scared to death."

Ralls County Sheriff Gerry Dinwiddie said the three members of the sheriff's office tried their hardest to corral the dogs, but one of the dogs started getting aggressive.

Dinwiddie added that he and two other deputies tried their best to contain the dogs without using force.

He said his department has not shot a dog in four years.

Dinwiddie said the Ralls County Sheriff's Office contacted the Humane Society of Missouri to educate the dog's owner about what is and isn't allowed in the State of Missouri.

He also said the Sheriff's Office will try to file four charges against Green.

The county's prosecuting attorney will have the ultimate say as to whether those charges will be filed.