Justice for Nala
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**NOTICE: AFTER SIGNING THE PETITION, CHANGE.ORG WILL ASK YOU TO DONATE. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THOSE DONATIONS DO NOT GO TO ANIMAL ACTION OF KC OR THE KNUDSEN FAMILY, AND INSTEAD GO TO CHANGE.ORG. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THE KNUDSENS, PLEASE VISIT THEIR GOFUNDME PAGE AT https://www.gofundme.com/f/gwgfqa-justice-for-nala . IF YOU HAVE ALREADY DONATED THROUGH CHANGE.ORG THINKING THOSE FUNDS WERE FOR THE FAMILY, PLEASE REQUEST A REFUND OR DISPUTE THE CHARGE WITH YOUR BANK.**
Please sign and share this petition in an effort to get the police officer in Olathe, Kansas to be held responsible for shooting and killing a dog; additionally we need to encourage Olathe PD to get fully trained, according to animal control specifications, on how to handle an animal they encounter rather than just shoot someone’s pet. Especially when they are off duty. Olathe Municpal code 9.12.050- Unlawful Discharge of Firearms states that unlawful discharge of firearms is the reckless discharging or firing of any gun, rifle, pistol, revolver or other firearm within the City. Which occurred in this incident.
On the evening of Sunday, March 29, 2020 at approximately 5:17 p.m, an officer by the name of Mark Cantrell and his wife, Jessica, were walking their two pit bulls(/mix) in a quiet neighborhood of Spring Hill, KS when they shot and killed a beloved family Great Dane, Nala. While they walked away without consequences, the people of Olathe and surrounding areas are demanding justice.
Nala's family was doing yard work on their property. At that time, one of Nala's owners let her into their home. Unfortunately, they were not aware that their door into the garage had been left open, which left Nala access into and out of the garage, thus into the front yard.
Approximately 10-15 seconds after Nala was let in, her owners heard a single gunshot from the north. There had been no barking or any other sound of a commotion before the gunshot. Upon hearing the gunshot, her owners immediately ran to the front yard and saw Nala ‘jogging’ back towards them. Owners also witnessed a middle-aged couple (later identified as Mark Ronald Cantrell and his wife, Jessica) with two pit-bulls(/mixes), across the street; they were walking north, away from where the incident had taken place.
Owners called out to the couple, asking what had happened; and Mr. Cantrell’s wife replied that Nala had "attacked his dogs". Upon reaching Nala, they observed that she had a single gunshot wound directly to her side. Her family yelled to Mr. Cantrell that he had shot their dog. They placed a call to 911 and instructed the couple to wait until the police arrived. At that time the shooter, Mr. Cantrell (later found to be an Olathe Police Department officer) transferred a weapon to his wife and told her to continue walking north. The owners yelled at Mr. Cantrell to wait there, and promptly half-walked / half-carried Nala to the bed of their pickup so that they could rush her to medical care. While they were unloading work tools from the bed of my truck --- in order to make room for Nala --- they overheard Mr. Cantrell exclaim (in a frantic manner to his wife) “Give me the gun!” Upon hearing this, the owners told Mr. Cantrell to leave the gun alone and that they were only loading Nala into the pickup to take her to the ER vet.
They then kept a close watch on Mr. Cantrell, while awaiting the arrival of the Spring Hill police officers, as they were both were fearful and unsure of his irrational behavior. Upon the arrival of the Spring Hill police officers, and after having loaded Nala into the vehicle, they promptly drove her to the emergency veterinary clinic, where she died from her injuries.
There were two eye-witnesses to this incident. The first is a neighbor who was sitting with her daughter and a friend in their driveway. She submitted a witness report, stating that they watched Nala playfully run up to Mr. Cantrell’s dogs and begin to sniff them. She heard no barking, growling or any sort of commotion at all. She said there was no effort from either Mr. Cantrell or his wife to shoo Nala away or call for help. The second witness is also a neighbor who at the time of the incident, was on her raised deck, giving her a clear view of the location of the shooting. She also submitted a witness testimonial, stating that she heard no sounds of aggressive barking, growling, yelling or a commotion before she heard the gunshot.
The Olathe Police department, where Officer Cantrell currently works, apparently needs to train all their officers on how to handle animals in a humane manner so that they don’t have to meet an untimely death. If this officer was properly trained, perhaps Nala would still be with her family where she was loved and cherished.
These are hard times we face currently. Our families, including our pets, are so very important to us as we navigate being home with an uncertain future. It is unacceptable that officer Cantrell not only took a piece the Knudsen family, but has struck fear in all families of Spring Hill and surrounding areas, leaving people wondering if their pets are safe. We are asking Olathe PD to please respond to their colleagues actions and take this horrible tragedy and at least make a positive impact. Please train officers on working humanely with animals they encounter. And please issue some kind of consequence for your officer's erratic and downright dangerous behavior.
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