Racine, WI- Police shot and killed a dog Saturday afternoon after an argument between neighbors over dog feces escalated into a standoff lasting nearly four hours.
The incident began Saturday morning when Racine resident Kim Polk said she had her daughter call 911 after she was allegedly threatened by her neighbor. The man was later identified in a press release from the Racine Police Department as Kurt Hanson. Polk told Milwaukee’s Fox 6 that she was clearing leaves off of her lawn when Hanson’s dog defecated in her yard. “His dog proceeded to soil my grass and I asked him, ‘you are going to pick that up?’ because I don’t want that sitting on my grass,” said Polk.
Polk said that Hanson then kicked the dog’s excrement into a pile of leaves and threatened to shoot Polk’s dog with a bow and arrow. Polk alleged that Hanson threatened to harm her as well.
Polk said her husband confronted Hanson at his home after Polk told him about the argument. Polk said Hanson answered the door and ordered Polk’s husband to leave his property before closing the door. The neighbor then allegedly returned to the door with a machete.
“He held the machete up in the air and said ‘I have something for you,'” said Polk. “He took the machete and he threw it in the grass where it stuck down in the grass and then he picked it back up and at that time I called my daughter to call 911.”
According to Sergeant Sam Stulo, police arrived at Hanson’s home and attempted to communicate with him. Hanson reportedly told police dispatchers that “police had better get off his property, or he would get a gun if he had to.” Racine Police Chief Art Howell said Hanson threatened the police by saying he would shoot them “with a cross bow” and use his dog on the officers. A crisis negotiations team and armored SWAT vehicle were then called to the home.
At around 3 p.m. the SWAT team closed in on Hanson’s house, and the man allegedly let a dog out of his home. A graphic video taken by a neighbor showed a small dog near police before being shot. Witnesses said the dog had turned around to return to the house before it was shot multiple times.
Howell stated in an email to a citizen that he was “saddened over the loss of a domestic pet that more than likely, had no malice against anyone.”
“During this standoff, the dog owner threatened to use a body armor piercing crossbow to kill officers, and this subject threatened to use his dog as a weapon against officers as well,” Howell wrote. “After several hours of dialogue with crisis negotiators, the barricaded subject ultimately made good on his threat to introduce the dog into the active standoff.”
“After the dog was released, the dynamics of this encounter changed. Officers, who for over three hours were focused on peacefully resolving this crisis through dialogue, were now forced to deal with the distraction and unpredictability of having the subject’s dog moving through the scene of this active encounter at a critical time.”
Hanson was taken into police custody after the dog was shot and has been charged with disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment with a weapon, obstructing an officer and failure to comply with arrest. Hanson said in an interview that when police arrived he was asked to put his hands up so he proceeded to put his hands up while inside the home in front of a window. He acknowledged that he didn’t respond to orders to come outside, saying “there was no reason for that”, and said that teargas was used during the standoff. Hanson’s recollection of the incident is available below.