Protests planned for Livonia City Council after fatal shooting of dog in family's yard by contractor

Dutch-German shepherd mix killed; no charges expected

A utility worker is accused of shooting and killing a Livonia family's dog.
A utility worker is accused of shooting and killing a Livonia family's dog.

LIVONIA, Mich. – The Livonia City Council is holding a scheduled meeting Wednesday evening and protests are planned after a contractor shot and killed a dog in a yard while working outside a neighbor's house.

The incident happened at about 9 a.m. on July 28 on Angling Street near 8 Mile Road. The homeowner said his dog was sitting in his usual spot in the front yard when the contractor, who was working in the yard next door, stepped into his yard.

The dog barked when the contractor stepped into the man's yard, and within seconds, the homeowner said he heard a single gunshot.

Livonia police said charges are not expected and that the dog was an imminent threat.

"It's terrible," said Douglas Eiben, the dog's owner. "It should never happen."

Emotions are still raw for the family, which loved Katie, the 4-year-old Dutch-German shepherd mix.

"I'm so upset," Eiben said. "I'm hurt because if he would have missed that dog, that shell and that gun was in my direction. It could have been me. That's the thing that I'm so upset about it."

Eiben said he heard his dog bark just as he stepped out his front door and into the driveway.

"I heard a pop and saw the dog laying on the ground," Eiben said.

The single gunshot was fired by a Corby Energy contractor who was doing work on the other side of the fence.

"Why are you crossing through yards?" Eiben said. "You're supposed to use front entrances."

The worker crossed into Eiben's front yard by cutting through a fence. When he did, he was met by Katie, but little did he know the dog wore a shock collar.

According to a police report posted to a Facebook page Eiben created, the dog was barking and showing its teeth and the contractor verbally identified himself as a utility worker. It reads:

"(Utility worker) stated that he was verbally identifying himself as a utility worker and this his intent was to walk to the front door and advise the homeowner that he was going to enter the rear yard."

Here is the police report. How do you "identify" yourself to a dog??!! Did you kick the dog or hit it with your iPad...

Posted by Justice for Katie on Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"She knows the boundary of where to go," Eiben said. "She won't cross that line."

The yard is protected by an invisible fence, which allowed Katie to roam within limits.

When asked why he shot the dog, the worker said he feared for his safety, but the family doesn't understand why the man was carrying a gun on the job or why he fired so quickly.

"The dog only barked twice, then it popped," Eiben said. "It wasn't three to four seconds. She was doing her job protecting our property. That's what she was here for."

Corby Energy said the field data collector was performing pole survey work for AT&T when the shooting happened.

The company released a statement with six bullet points. You can read the statement below:

  • We expect our employees to comply with all applicable laws.
  • We are aware of the situation, reviewing the circumstances and surrounding facts, and conducting our own investigation.  Once that investigation is complete, the Company will determine whether any additional action regarding its employee is necessary.
  • We've instructed our employee to fully comply with local police in all respects, if requested.
  • The Company is also prepared to fully cooperate with the police, if requested.
  • At this stage, the Company has not been advised by the police as to whether they believe that any laws have been violated.
  • If and when such a determination is made, the Company will be prepared to take that fact into consideration.
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