By Mike Hellgren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) ―Justice for Bear Bear. Just a short time ago, a federal police officer was found guilty of shooting a dog at a popular dog park.

Mike Hellgren
just finished talking with some key players in the case.

It’s been an emotional day. It started around 1:30 p.m. and wrapped up just a short time ago. It was a win and a loss for Bear Bear and his owners, the Rettaliatas.  They got the guilty verdicts they wanted but he sentence was not what they wanted. Federal police officer Keith Shepherd will serve no jail time.

Shepherd, 32, left the court with heavy security after a judge found him guilty of animal cruelty and weapons charges stemming from the shooting of a Siberian husky named Bear Bear in a dark park in Severn, Md. This happened last August.

“I think we’re clear that the person there with the dog wasn’t able to control the dog,” said defense attorney David Putzi. “It led to a series of events where things just got out of control.”

Bear Bear’s owners declined to comment. Many of their supporters were angry that Shepherd only got probation before judgment and will serve no jail time. He will do community service.

“Again, the animals are the looser,” said Wendy Cozzone, Bear Bear supporter. “We just can’t get any help. He comes to a dog park where children are, where people are with a loaded gun, shoots an innocent dog, and again the dogs loose.”

Shepherd claimed Bear Bear lunged at him and his wife while they were at the park with their dog, and he feared for his safety. He then fired his personal handgun. He was off duty at the time.

Both charges against Shepherd are misdemeanors.

Shepherd testified in his own defense. He faced a maximum of nine months behind bars. If he completes his probation successfully, everything will be wiped from his record.

Shepherd will also have to pay a $500 fine.


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