Lloyd White said his two American bulldogs, Diego and Spike, mean the world to him. But Friday evening, White said he was still reeling from the loss of Diego, who was shot and killed Wednesday on a sidewalk by a man walking his dog on a leash.
White acknowledged his dog got loose after jumping through a screen door White was repairing. Diego ran up to Tom Brashears and his dog Montana near the intersection of Brower Street and North Eagle Avenue.
Brashears told the News-Leader on Thursday the dog, which he described as a pit bull, was attacking Montana and grabbed his pup by the neck. White, who ran after Diego, said that’s not how he saw it.
“I told the guy, he’s not mean,” White said. “He was just playing with that other dog. I was right next to them and I asked ‘please don’t shoot him,’ but he did.
“My dog looked up at me like, ‘Dad, what just happened?’ He wobbled a bit, then collapsed. I sat down and held him as he died.”
White said Brashears was carrying a walking stick and could have used that instead of a 9 mm pistol to separate the dogs.
Brashears said he pulled his gun and put it against Diego’s back because he feared the dog might kill his pet.
“My dog was not mean or aggressive, no way,” White said. “He was just playing.”
Springfield police are still investigating the incident, and no citations had been issued to either dog owner as of Friday.
White said he took in Diego and Spike from owners who were unable to care for the dogs. They normally stay in his fenced backyard, and it was just an accident that Diego managed to jump through the opening in the screen door, White said.
Still, he said he feels responsible for Diego’s death. “Yes I do,” White said. “That’s my fault. I’m probably the one that got him killed. That one mistake. I screwed up.”
White said he buried Diego in his brother’s backyard. He plans to register his other doggie and have it microchipped on Saturday.
“I feel bad,” he said. “Those dogs are like my family. They sleep with me and everything.”