WYNNEWOOD, OK --Vickie Malone had just brought the kids inside after celebrating her 5-year-old son's birthday outdoors. Birthday cake and ice cream awaited them when they heard the bang from outside.
*Warning: Some people may find video in this story hard to watch*
Malone says her son, Eli, looked outside and told her: "There's something wrong with Opie."
The adults ran outside to see the family's dog, Opie, near the fence that surrounds their yard. "He was over here kicking and gasping for air," Vickie said.
According to KOKH, a Wynnewood police officer then used a high-powered rifle he retrieved from his police vehicle to put the dog down.
Opie was a 3-year-old American Bulldog and Pit Bull mix. To Eli, he was his best friend. "I would have fun with him when he ran around and we played tag," Eli said.
Malone said the officer initially told her the dog had lunged at him through the fence. According to the Wynnewood police chief, the dog charged the officer. KOKH reports that while he declined multiple requests for a recorded interview, Chief Ken Moore said the officer told him the dog was vicious and attacked him by coming around the corner of the house. Moore said the officer tried to kick the dog off him once and then shot him.
However, the chief said he had not seen video of the aftermath of the shooting. The video shows the dead dog with a gunshot wound to his head lying near the fence, not near the house.
The police chief said the officer was serving a warrant, which gave him legal authority to be on the private property. However, the Malone's said they were never shown any warrant. They were only told the officer was looking for someone who had listed that address as his residence 10 years ago. "He said he was checking to see if a guy name Shon McNiel lived here and no one here has heard of what he was talking about," Malone said. The warrant for McNiel was from a 10-year-old case and the police chief said the Malone house was his last known address.
However, the police chief said the department was aware the Malones had lived there for the past year. He also said the address was a "rent house" and that multiple people had "moved in and out" in the past decade. Moore defended the officer's presence there saying he "had to start somewhere" in his effort to serve the warrant.
"I respect what the police do, but this was senseless. He didn't show any remorse and didn't even act like he was sorry or anything," Malone said.
The Malones believe the death of their dog could have been avoided either by the use of less-lethal force or by fact checking on the warrant.
No matter what the reason behind the death of Opie, Eli said he misses him. He made a small wooden cross to mark the backyard grave.
Eli misses his friend and said he wants someone with the Wynnewood Police Department to say they're sorry.