File photo.

Man accused of fatally shooting 11-year-old girl’s dog in front of her

The defendant is being charged with first-degree animal cruelty and reckeless endangerment.

A Des Moines man was charged with animal cruelty on Jan. 13 after he allegedly shot an 11-year-old girl’s dog to death in front of her, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Curtis Leroy Madden, 64, was charged with first-degree animal cruelty and reckless endangerment. He was booked into King County Jail and his bail is set to $5,000. Madden’s arraignment is 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Around 6:55 p.m. Jan. 12, Des Moines police officers were dispatched to 1800 block of South 243rd Street after receiving reports of the sound of a shooting, according to charging documents. When officers arrived on scene, they located an older man, an 11-year-old girl and a dead dog.

The deceased dog was a 5-year-old boxer name Tyson, who was going out for a walk with the girl. At one point, the girl tripped and fell and lost control of the leash. At that time, Madden was also out walking his dog, a black Labrador, according to charging documents.

According to the girl, Tyson began chasing Madden’s dog as she yelled her dog’s name for him to turn around. She relayed to officers that Tyson was running back towards her when Madden first shot her dog, documents state.

Witnesses reported Tyson limping and whining as he made his way over to the girl. Tyson circled her, which was when Madden shot him a second time as he allegedly said, “Die [expletive] dog,” according to charging documents. Tyson was approximately eight feet in front of the girl during the second gunshot.

A neighbor who loosely observed the incident asked Madden if he shot the dog, to which Madden allegedly responded, “Damn straight I did!” According to police documents, the neighbor described Madden as being boastful about shooting the dog when speaking to officers.

When being interviewed by officers, Madden admitted Tyson was not attacking him during the time he shot him. He claimed that Tyson attacked his lab, however officers found no evidence to support his claim. The girl and witnesses were not injured during the incident.

Madden was initially arrested under misdemeanor charges, but after detectives with the Special Investigations Unit and prosecutors at KCPAO reviewed the case, he has been charged with animal cruelty in the first degree and reckless endangerment. He was booked into the King County Jail.

“Animal cruelty cases are among the most serious and disturbing cases we handle and holding people accountable for animal abuse is a priority for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” said Casey McNerthney, Director of Communications at KCPAO.

This incident is the first animal cruelty case filed of this year, and since the pandemic began, animal cruelty cases have approximately doubled. In 2021, there were 21 animal cruelty cases; in 2020 there were 25; in 2019 there were 9; and in 2018 there were 10.

In charging documents, Madden’s actions were described as “cruel and dangerous,” and stated that he was likely to commit further acts of violence if released due to him “manifesting an extreme indifference to life.”

KCPAO recommends calling 911 if one sees a human or animal life in danger.

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