Controversy brewing over pitbull shooting
WAUWATOSA - A man's dog was shot and killed in his neighbor's backyard. Now there's controversy over what really happened.
The dog's owner is Frank Jude Junior.
Jude is widely known as a victim of a brutal police beating and he claims he's the victim again of excessive force - this time the force used on his dog.
Jude claims he was inside his house Saturday evening when he heard his backyard neighbor yelling to come get his (Jude's) dog. When Jude crossed the fence, he said he found his neighbor, Byron Rachow, with a gun in hand.
Jude said his dog was jumping at Rachow but claimed it wasn't in a vicious manner. He claims he tried to get control of his dog when Rachow opened fire.
"He started shooting. Multiple shots. Five or more," said Jude.
Rachow and his wife, Lisa, have a much different story of what unfolded. The two had been working in their back yard. Lisa said she was returning outside from indoors when she found Jude's dog - a Pit Bill named Frankie - attacking her family's Labrador.
Jude's dog had it's teeth sunk into their dog's back quarters, she said. Lisa yelled for help from Byron and grabbed the phone to call 911. Byron, a former sheriff's deputy, grabbed his hand gun. He said he tried yelling at Jude's dog to stop but that it instead, turned to lunge at him (Byron), biting his thumb.
Byron shot multiple times at close range.
"I did what I had to do to protect my family and neighborhood," he said.
Jude feels his neighbor used excessive force. Byron tells TODAY'S TMJ4 he "shot enough times to stop the threat". "I was trained in law enforcement to do that," he said.
"I think he was out of control. Out of anger and hatred he was doing it," alleged Jude.
Jude believes Rachow had a grudge against him because of his high profile case involving fellow law enforcement. Jude was severely beaten by off-duty Milwaukee Police Officers in 2004. Seven of those officers were convicted.
Jude claims after Rachow shot Jude's dog, he threatened Jude.
"I was afraid for my life. Afraid he was going to shoot me. Who I am - Frank Jude Jr. - He knows who I am."
Rachow said Jude is way off base. Rachow didn't want to talk on camera but spoke with TODAY'S TMJ4'S Keller Russell at length.
"This was a traumatic event for our family," said Lisa Rachow who stands by her husband's actions.
"It could have been a kid. It could have been worse," she said referring to the dog's attack.
Neighbor Mike Butterfield saw Jude's dog go after Byron and Curt Janka's son saw Rachow's dog being attacked. Janka believes Rachow's actions were justified.
"I have no problem standing behind Byron for what he did. I would have done it three times faster than he did it so. There's just too much at stake," said Janka.
Several neighbors tell TODAY'S TMJ4 Jude's dog has been an on-going concern.
Police are investigating.