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Man charged with killing neighbor’s dog

Cindy Holliday and her dog, Kita.
Courtesy photo.

A Spencer Township man is facing charges in the shooting death of his neighbor’s Siberian Husky.

Matthew Goldsmith. 
Photo from Kent County
Correctional Facility.

Matthew Goldsmith, 43, was arraigned in 63rd District Court on Monday, November 23, on one charge of killing/torturing an animal-third degree.

According to Cindy Holliday, Goldsmith’s neighbor on 19 Mile Rd, she was trying to put her dog, Kita, on a leash, on November 4, when she bolted. She called her friend, Laura Ensley, and they went to search for her. “We were standing right in front of his house calling for her when we heard her whine, and then heard the shot,” she said. “She was literally shot six yards from my driveway.”

Kita, whom Cindy said was an amazing, sweet dog that liked to run, did not survive.

“She didn’t deserve a bullet,” said Cindy. “She deserved a call to animal control and I would’ve dealt with it from there. But not a bullet.”

Cindy said that she had been on good terms with her neighbors before she got the dog. “They had my number. They could’ve called or texted and said, ‘Hey, your dog is over here.’ But they wouldn’t.”

Cindy had Kita for about four months before she was shot. She had gotten her from Laura, who had fostered her for about three weeks. During those four months, Kita had gotten away a few times. 

At one point, she got off her leash and killed one of her neighbor’s chickens. Cindy didn’t know she had gotten off her leash until her neighbor came and told her what had happened. “I apologized and offered to replace one or more chickens, but she didn’t want to work anything out. Instead she just called animal control and said she wanted me to end up in court every time my dog got loose.”

Cindy explained to the Post that she didn’t just open the door and let the dog run. “She was always with me. And if she got away, I was always right nearby, calling and searching for her,” she said. She also took her for a run every day. She said she drove the quad while Kita ran alongside of her.

On the day of the shooting, Cindy said the neighbor’s chickens were in no danger, and were safe inside the chicken coop. “It is completely fenced in. Kita was not a threat,” she said.

When they found Kita, she said they also found Goldsmith with the gun in his hand.

“They feel no remorse,” said Cindy, about her neighbors. “I don’t understand how they think it’s ok to do something like that. I even told them we were working on getting a fence, but they didn’t care.”

Cindy said police have told her that these cases happen often with no resulting charges. “I think it’s fantastic he’s being charged,” she said. “There is no justification for what he did. We need to set an example.”

The felony charge is punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Those convicted can be ordered to perform up to 500 hours of community service; the court may also order psychiatric evaluation. Goldsmith’s bond was set at $5,000 and he was released on his own personal recognizance. His next scheduled appearance is for probable cause conference on December 7 at 10:00 a.m.

Cindy also filed a PPO against Goldsmith because of the gun and the shooting in close proximity to them and her property.

The Post asked the Kent County Sheriff Office what residents should do if they run into a similar situation.

“The KCSO encourages all residents to contact Kent County Animal Control and their local law enforcement agency if they are dealing with a similar issue; whether they have a dog that is getting loose or if a neighbor’s dog is getting loose and coming onto their property,” said Sgt. Joy Matthews. “Seek help before the situation escalates and gets too severe. Both animal control and law enforcement have resources to assist. If a resident feels that someone has shot their dog unlawfully, we encourage them to report it immediately to Kent County Animal Control and their local law enforcement agency. The two agencies will work together to investigate the complaint to determine if there is legal justification to shoot the dog (i.e. attacking persons, pursuing/worrying/wounding livestock, poultry, etc.). Contact Kent County Animal Control at (616) 632-7300, report non-emergency incidents to the KCSO at (616) 632-6357, or call 9-1-1 for emergencies.”

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Kent County Sheriff victim advocate program seeks volunteers

From the Kent County Sheriff Office

People often approach us and ask, “How can I help?” We want to tell you about an awesome opportunity to get involved, especially if volunteer work was high on your list of resolutions for 2018. 

We are accepting applications to our Victim Advocate Program, which is one of our most important and impactful volunteer programs as it places advocates in immediate contact with family members who have lost a loved one in the wake of a tragic event. Here’s a little more information:

This group of men and women assist law enforcement officers when tragic events occur. These volunteer advocates provide support and comfort to families when traumatic news is given. Victim advocates respond to fatal traffic accidents, homicides, suicides and other traumatic deaths. They lend support to victims and survivors as they adjust to the initial shock of the loss of a loved one. 

Victim advocates are trained to deal with the emotional needs of traumatized victims. Advocates are trained to assist families in making decision on who they might contact fort additional support. They stay with the victim until his or her own support system arrives. The advocates work in teams of two and commit to being on call for a one week period of time. They are on call from 6:00am-6:00pm and for the night shift from 6:00pm – 6:00am. Each advocate goes through a 20-hour in house training process to help them in dealing with grief and its effect on people. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Victim Advocate program, please contact Sandi Jones at 616-632-6221 or sandi.jones@kentcountymi.gov

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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