An Ohio man who shot a police dog that wandered onto his property received a suspended sentence and no fines after the judge urged the man to “make peace” with his police officer neighbor. The incident began in November when Flip, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois police dog that was living with Officer Bryon Deeter approached his car and “would not leave.”
Steven Vanderhoff, who was returning from the grocery store with his 18-month-old son said that he did not recognize the dog. When the dog finally moved away, he ran into the house to grab his shot gun and killed the dog.
The town of Finley has been divided by the issue, and the judge imposed the suspended 90-day sentence in hopes that it will bring peace and closure to the neighborhood.
The officer was not cited for letting a dog roam off leash.
From the Toledo Blade:
After finding Mr. Vanderhoff guilty, Judge Routson gave him a 90-day jail sentence, which the judge suspended on the condition that he remain law-abiding for two years. Judge Routson ordered him to pay court costs but declined to levy a fine, he said, because Mr. Vanderhoff had made a $250 contribution to the Humane Society of Hancock County.
But it seems that the feud between Officer Deeter and Vanderhoff is not yet over.
Mr. Vanderhoff declined to comment afterward, but his girlfriend and her parents, who live on the same Jackson Township road where Officer Deeter lives, said they did not believe the issue would be resolved.
Nicole McCahan said just a few weeks ago she was pushing the couple’s now-2-year-old son in his stroller when Spike - the new Findlay police dog who lives with the Deeters - began charging toward her. She said Officer Deeter’s wife was yelling at the dog, which finally stopped before reaching the road.
“I just stopped and faced it,” she said. “All this stuff was going through my mind. Lord knows what it would’ve done.”
Also, the loss of the police dog would not count against Vanderhoff thanks to the town’s celebrity connection:
The city did not seek restitution for Flip - an estimated $15,000 loss, including training and equipment - in part because Ben Roethlisberger, Findlay native and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, paid for Flip’s replacement through his charitable foundation.