PAINESVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Painesville residents are taking to Facebook to accuse a Painesville police officer of mishandling a dying dog and throwing the body in the back of police vehicle after it was hit in traffic.
The dog, named Sadie, was reportedly running loose in the neighborhood when it was struck by a vehicle.
Ebony Jackson said it's a sight she won't soon forget. She called police and covered Sadie with a sheet.
"Another lady pulled over, she jumped out, she was consoling the dog, I don't know who actually hit the dog but the dog was howling and screaming," she said.
Jackson says the dog died before police got to the scene. But when Painesville police officers arrived, she felt one officer in particular didn't show any compassion.
"When he picked up the dog, he just picked up the dog by it's two front legs and threw him over in the officer's trunk," she said.
That policeman is Matt Collins, a K-9 officer with Painesville Police Department. Several eyewitnesses posted about the incident on social media and are calling for Collins to be disciplined.
"Kind of sort of what a human being would be called abusing a corpse. I feel like he should be reprimanded to me he was just blatantly being lazy, you know instead of just bending down picking up the dog with his sheet and placing the dog in the trunk just because of the fact that the kids were out there," Jackson said.
The Painesville Police Department said it is not releasing the incident report at this time, citing an open investigation. The department said multiple agencies are investigating the incident.
Here's a statement posted on Painesville Police's Facebook page today from Painesville Police Chief Dan Waterman:
A witness posted on Facebook about what she said she saw:
The Lake County Sheriff Department said, despite Facebook comments, it never responded to a call about a struck dog and was not present during the alleged incident.
Here is statement from the Painesville Police Department:
Acting Police Chief Dan Waterman declined an on-camera interview but said although Officer Collins didn't make any "procedural errors" he could have taken time and shown more care.
Waterman also says Officer Collins contacted Sadie's owners and personally apologized for the way he treated their dog. He says Collins is not being punished but intends to have him do something constructive that will involve a full day of community-oriented training.
Sadie's owners have her body and are preparing to cremate her.