A year after a their dog was shot and killed by State Police a York County couple is still looking for closure. C. Bryan and Michelle Hartman, of Codorus Township, say they have struggled to get answers about what happened to their dog Lucy.
“We met her and oh my goodness we fell in love with her. She was a big doofus! She was running around the yard like crazy, and she would start jumping on the window sills there,” said Michelle Hartman. Her and Bryan went to the SPCA to adopt a different dog but ended up taking Lucy home instead. “She fit in great, it’s like we had her forever. It’s amazing we just bonded so quick with her.”
On March 18, 2013 Michelle let the dogs out when she got home from work. “Lucy was outside for probably just a few minutes. I was just getting their dinner ready, and I went outside to let them in and she wasn’t there,” said Michelle. She worried because Lucy didn’t have a collar on.
“I think she jumped up something when she went out to go to the bathroom, and took off. Because she hated the rain and the snow or anything you usually couldn’t get her to go out,” said Bryan.
The Hartman’s spent hours searching for Lucy. “We made posters and put them up all over Glen Rock and Shrewsbury,” said Bryan. “Then the next day we got a call from the dog warden saying a pit bull had been shot and it matched Lucy’s description.”
According to State Police Public Information Officer Robert Hicks, troopers got a call that a dog was on a woman’s porch destroying her screen door trying to get into the home. “When the dog saw them [troopers] it became aggressive and started to charge at the troopers. The dog did stop prior to getting to the troopers, at which point it took an aggressive stance. It started to bark and growl at the troopers. The troopers were yelling at the dog trying to get it to flee but it wouldn’t. Then the dog made a move towards the troopers and they had to put the dog down,” said Trooper Hicks.
The Hartman’s have their doubts about Lucy being aggressive and wonder why other methods were not used. “I would much rather you mase my dog or taser my dog,” said Bryan.
State Police say they had no choice. “In that situation the Troopers had no choice. They did what they had to do. Using pepper spray or the taser might not have been 100% effective in preventing the dog from attacking them,” said Trooper Hicks.
“The troopers do feel bad about having to put the dog down, but they had no choice in the situation. No troopers wants to go to a scene and put an animal down. In fact both of the troopers are dog owners, so they know what it’s like to have a family pet,” said Trooper Hicks.
Bryan said it took days, numerous calls and going to the media before State Police would tell him where to find Lucy. “After talking to the media one of the responding troopers finally called us. He said that they had shot Lucy and killed her,” said Bryan. “He said that she acted aggressive and his corporal shot her, and then he wanted to put her out of her misery so then he shot her. They both shot her. And then carried her across the street and placed her behind guard rail,” said Michelle.
According to State Police, “It happened at one in the morning so there wasn’t too much that could be done. The dog had no identification so we couldn’t even contact the owners. So the troopers took it to the end of the property and put it over the guard rail on the other side,” said Trooper Hicks.
Bryan went to the location and picked up Lucy. “I carried her out and buried her. I gave her a nice spot.”
Bryan said he has been requesting the police report because he said he still hasn’t gotten answers about what happened that night. “I went to the barracks and asked for a report. I wanted to see what happened in their words. They said no, and gave me a paper said I had to fill it out and send it in. So I filled it out and sent it in. I got a response back saying no, I could not have it I needed an attorney. So I got an attorney involved. She contacted them and said we wanted to know what happened, they call it pre-discovery. They contested it, they said no,” said Bryan. “If it was a family member you would want to know what happened. We want to know.”
From their story, the Hartman’s hope Pennsylvania follows the lead of other states and passes a law that would serve as a guideline and train police on humane response by law enforcement. “We just want something good to come out of this. We want them to get the training that they need to handle animals,” said Michelle.