An Indianapolis man won’t face charges after he fatally shot a child’s service dog last month.
The dog, a 10-year-old black Labrador retriever named Clyde, was playing with his owner on May 25 when the fatal incident occurred. Heather Mills told local outlet WXIN that her family got Clyde as a service dog for their 12-year-old son, Mason, who has been diagnosed with autism.
“He goes everywhere with him,” Mills told WXIN of Clyde’s relationship with Mason. “Whether he’s riding a bike, playing with his hoverboard, playing with his friends — the dog’s right there,”
“Dog even gets on the trampoline at 10 years old,” she added.
Clyde and Mason were playing in front of the family’s home on the day of the shooting. The family’s home security camera captured a man walking down the sidewalk and heading toward the yard Clyde was in.
A witness said Clyde, who was off-leash, approached the unidentified man and barked at him. That’s when the man reached into his belt and shot the dog once in the head.
The man later told an animal control officer who responded to the shooting that he did so because he “felt threatened.” Law enforcement officers determined that the shooter’s actions were lawful because the dog wasn’t fenced or on a leash. State law allows the use of deadly force to “prevent serious bodily injury.”
The Mills family has set up a GoFundMe to raise money to get Mason a new service dog.
“Mason has had a service dog since he was 3 years old,” a description of the GoFundMe reads. “Mason was non verbal when Clyde came home and within 6 months he was talking.”