Community members came together to form the “Justice For Dixie” peaceful rally after the 3-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever mix pup named Dixie was shot and killed. The peaceful rally was held at the Lorain Police Station on 200 West Erie Avenue Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to the organizers, the rally is being held in support of Dixie’s family and to express the request for the immediate removal of the officer involved from the Lorain Police Department, whose actions have left Dixie’s owner overwhelmed with grief.
Tammie Kerns wept as she told Fox 8, “I just want justice for my dog, I’m sad, I’m upset, I’m just devastated, my dog is gone, you can’t replace her ever.”
Kerns said her dogs got loose on July 2, after being startled by fireworks. As Dixie was running along Oberlin Avenue, the Lorain police officer stopped his cruiser, got out, and pulled out his gun.
The family said the patrolman then fired at least four shots in rapid succession, as the dog ran toward him.
On audio from the officer’s body camera, he claimed that Dixie charged at him, but the family maintains she was no threat and had never harmed anyone in her short life.
“When he shot her the first time, she dropped, she was trying to crawl to me and my daughter for help and he continued shooting her,” said Tammie Kerns.
Dixie’s family and animal rights activists are asking prosecutors to pursue felony charges against the officer, under Goddard’s Law, named after legendary Fox 8 Meteorologist Dick Goddard.
Tammie Kerns’ daughter Brittany Kaspirek said, “I just want to make sure that this does not ever happen to another family, he used beyond excessive force, one shot would have been totally feasible, he could have used a taser, as close as he was.”
Lorain Police have declined comment on the investigation of the shooting, but on Friday, the department’s public information officer responded to the protest and the family’s grief.
“We offer our condolences, I don’t think any police officer would want to shoot a dog and it’s tough on us and when we see people going through that, you know, experience that loss of really a family member you know, it pulls at our heartstrings as well,” said Lt. Jacob Morris.
As the protest wrapped up, the family told those attending that they were grateful that Northeast Ohioans have given their beloved Dixie a voice.
“She’s loving all of us for it,” said Tammie Kerns, as she sobbed and clung to her daughter.
The police officer involved in the shooting is on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. Fox 8 is told there have been a number of threats on his life.
A statement released by police to FOX 8 News states, in part, “While all the facts are not yet known, the investigation has been assigned to the Lorain Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards… Chief McCann is also working with several outside expert consultants who will be assisting with and reviewing the facts of this case.”
The Kerns family says they will settle for nothing less than “Justice for Dixie.”