Michael Powell raised Rocky from a puppy. The German Rottweiler was 10 years old and had been a constant companion for Powell's 8-year-old son, he said.
On Thursday, Powell buried Rocky on a family farm in Owenton — a day after Lexington police officer Aaron Greenleaf shot and killed the dog in Powell's fenced-in back yard on Bryan Avenue. Police said Rocky attacked Greenleaf as the officer was searching the property for a teenage boy who fled from a nearby trailer park.
The situation has left Powell with a number of questions: Why didn't officers use non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray or a Taser? Why didn't the officer simply leave the property? And why did the officer shoot his dog six times?
"They pretty much murdered my dog and walked out of here and said, 'We're sorry,'" Powell said.
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Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said officer Greenleaf acted appropriately and, according to preliminary information, did not violate any policy.
"Neither the dog nor the officer did anything wrong. They both did what they had to do," Roberts said. "The dog was protecting its property and the officer was protecting his safety."
Roberts said Greenleaf "had a legal right to be there because he was pursuing a suspect."
She said police would try to rectify the situation with the dog's owner.
Powell, 30, said he doesn't know how anyone could replace his loss.
"How do you put a price tag on an animal that's 10 years old?" Powell said.
Greenleaf jumped Powell's chain-link fence during a foot pursuit. While on the property, Rocky approached Greenleaf and bit his leg, Roberts said.
Roberts said she did not think the bite broke skin. Greenleaf, who has been a police officer since 2007, was not hospitalized.
Powell said he was at a nearby park playing basketball when he heard gunshots. When he got home, officers explained what happened.
"They said they was chasing a 17-year-old kid and they thought he went on my property," he said.
The foot chase began after officers arrived at a mobile home park at 115 West Loudon Avenue about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to serve a commissioner's warrant for a 17-year-old. The juvenile ran, and officers chased him on foot through the mobile home park.
Roberts said officers did not know the subject matter of the warrant because it was issued by the courts.
The pursuit went into several yards, including Powell's yard. At some point, officers lost track of the juvenile. The teenager had not been arrested Thursday night.
It wasn't until after Greenleaf had jumped the fence that he realized Rocky was there, Roberts said. The officer tried to run back to the fence and climb over, but the dog cornered him, she said.
"That's when he made the decision to draw his weapon," Roberts said.
Powell said he doesn't think the teen ever came onto his property. "Why didn't my dog get him?" he asked.
Powell said he also does not think Rocky attacked the officer. He said Rocky was not aggressive, even around Powell's 8-year-old son, Michael Kobi Powell, and his friends, who regularly played with Rocky.
"He was a big baby," Powell said.
Powell's son was staying at his mother's house during the shooting. On Thursday, Powell said he had to explain to his son what happened. "My son is devastated," he said. "The first thing he asked when he came home was, 'Where's my dog?'"