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Des Moines man charged with animal cruelty after shooting, killing dog in front of 11-year-old owner

The girl dropped the dog's leash, after which he approached the man and his dog. The dog had already turned around when the man shot and killed him, police said.

DES MOINES, Wash. — A Des Moines man was charged with first-degree animal cruelty after shooting and killing a dog in front of the 11-year-old owner. 

"That dog was her companion,” said Michael, the 11-year-old's father, who requested that his last name not be identified. “Never do you think that your dog's going to get shot while your daughter's walking him.”

Police responded to the 1800 block of S 243rd street around 6:55 p.m. on Wednesday following reports of a shooting, according to the Des Moines Police Department. 

When police arrived, they found an 11-year-old girl, a 64-year-old man, identified as Curtis Leroy Madden, and a dead dog. 

After interviewing the girl and other witnesses, police learned the girl was taking her dog, Tyson, for a walk when she fell and dropped the dog's leash. 

The dog ran down the street toward Madden, who was also out walking his dog. Witnesses said the girl's dog had already turned around and was walking back toward her when the man shot and killed the boxer, according to police. 

Neither Madden nor his dog was injured. Madden admitted to police that the dog was not attacking him at the time he shot the boxer, nor had it previously attacked him, according to court documents. 

The man shot the boxer twice. The girl told police she was afraid Madden was pointing the gun at her when he shot the dog a second time, police said.

"[The suspect] apparently had no remorse about shooting the dog, let alone shooting this dog, a family pet, in front of an 11-year-old girl," court documents said. 

Michael said the shooting traumatized his 11-year-old daughter.

"She said he pointed that gun at her. She said she thought he was going to shoot her,” said Michael. "I just wish she wouldn't have nightmares anymore."

Madden was initially arrested on misdemeanor charges. However, on Thursday he was charged with animal cruelty in the first degree, which is the most serious animal cruelty offense under state law, and reckless endangerment, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office (KCPO). He was booked into a jail in Des Moines and is expected to be transferred to the King County Jail.

There have been slightly more animal cruelty cases referred to the prosecuting attorney's office during the pandemic, according to KCPO. In 2021, there were 21 animal cruelty cases, in 2020 there were 25 cases, in 2019 there were nine cases and in 2018 there were 10. 

Madden will be arraigned on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Detectives are asking any other witnesses to the incident to contact the Des Moines Police Tip Line at 206-870-6871.