JUSTICE

K9 handler testifies against the man accused of killing his dog

Apr 18, 2019, 7:43 PM | Updated: 7:48 pm
(Unified Police Department)...
(Unified Police Department)
(Unified Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY – Tearful testimony at the Matheson Courthouse in the case against a man accused of shooting and killing a Unified Police dog.  His handler took the stand to talk about what happened before his partner was killed.

Chad Reyes was part of a group of officers assigned to arrest Torey Massey in 2017.  Reyes and his dog, Dingo, were placed on the outside of the search grid to contain the area.  Officers saw Massey driving in Millcreek, and used spike strips to flatten his tires and that’s when Massey reportedly jumped out and ran away.  Reyes says he can remember the last commend he ever gave Dingo, which was to go after Massey.

“Dingo acknowledged my command by placing his paw on my shoulder, basically saying, ‘I’ve got that guy,’” Reyes says.

As Dingo was attaching to Massey, Reyes claims the suspect and the dog rolled down a steep embankment.  That’s when Reyes says he heard multiple gun shots.  When he arrived to Dingo’s side, the dog was spinning in pain and gasping for breath.  However, Reyes tearfully says he couldn’t treat Dingo’s wounds right away since he was worried Massey might shoot him, also.

He says, “Dingo was coming to me for comfort and help.  I couldn’t direct my attention to him immediately because I was concerned for my own safety.”

Reyes searched for Massey while backup arrived.

“Other officers were coming down the hill, as well.  So, I trusted they would provide me cover while I attended to my dog,” he says.

Dingo had a bulletproof vest, but, Reyes says those are heavy and it’s too hard for dogs to wear them on hot summer nights, so, he wasn’t wearing it that night.

Massey was charged with injuring a police animal, as well as drug and weapons charges.  He pleaded not guilty to all of them.  The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is expected to get the case Friday morning.

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K9 handler testifies against the man accused of killing his dog