MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The owner of the dog that was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer at Shelby Farms dog park is speaking out.
Brigette Buelteman-Jahn is devastated by the loss of her Great Dane, Atilla, a dog who was a companion to her other Great Dane, a dog she bred because of his calm and friendly demeanor.
What seemed like just another fun day in the dog park turned into something very different.
"He was my guardian," Brigette said. "He was my friend, protector of the house."
Brigette said Atilla was shot in the chest and killed last month by an off-duty Memphis police officer at the Shelby Farms dog park.
Atilla was a companion to Brigette's other dog Amadi, also a great Dane, who is pregnant with Atilla's offspring.
Brigette had taken her two dogs to the park, something she says she did almost every day.
"All the time, every day," Brigette said. "He knows a lot of dogs there. He knew a lot of people there."
Brigette said there had never been an incident with Atilla in the six years he had been at the dog park.
"You can ask everyone in the dog park," Brigette said. "He was friendly to puppies. He was friendly to kids. He would run around and nothing happened."
Nothing happened until the day the off-duty Memphis police officer showed up with his German Shepherd.
Brigette says the German Shepherd nipped at Amadi through the entrance gate and Atilla didn't like it.
She says the officer then kicked Atilla.
"He got out the gun and shot," Brigette said.
Other people were in the park with their dogs.
The officer said he was afraid for his life and that is why he shot. Brigette wants one thing from the officer.
"I want that he never kill any other dog," Brigette said.
WMC Action News 5 did not name the officer because there were no charges filed against him, and he was off-duty at the time.
We checked his personnel file and he has excellent reviews and with no infractions.
He has been with the Memphis Police Department since 2011.