Dowell, Illinois town officials seen leaving the scene after family dog shot

May 21, 2013

Brittany Tilley of Dowell, Illinois is seeking answers in the shooting death of her two-year-old beagle/lab mix Boots. Boots was found in Tilleys’ yard Sunday night shortly after Dowell Police Officer Ralph Smith approached her neighbor Dennis Sowl and asked for Tilley’s phone number.

 Sowl, who is also a friend, was walking his own dog when he was approached by Dowell Mayor Dennis Stewart. Stewart allegedly told Dennis to stay off of the street because Boots was running loose and was a danger to the neighborhood. Sowl was also told by Stewart when offering to catch the dog and take it back to Brittany that he was “going to handle it my way.”

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department show in an incident report that Sowl went over to speak with another neighbor after the dog had been shot. The mayor and a police officer were seen leaving the scene. Sowl said the dog was found laying next to the mailbox shortly after the shooting.

Jeremy Beckham, a friend of the family, was on his way to Dowell when the dog was found dead. He believes an animal control officer should have been called and Boots taken to the pound until the property owner, Brittany’s dad, got back in town.

News Channel 3 went to visit the mayor at his home and were asked to leave. Then the media was allegedly reported to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department by someone at the mayor’s home.

Dowell Village Attorney Aaron Atkins told News3 that the town official was keeping quiet about the case since an investigation is under way. The situation has now escalated as word of Boots death has spread across the internet. Death threats have been made against town officials.

The Tilley family refuses to sit back and watch the murder of their family dog go unpunished. They plan to attend the next town meeting on June 10th. The family demands answers. Especially on why Boots was left laying in the yard after the shooting.

Readers, do you believe there’s a cover-up taking place in the murder of this family dog? How do you feel it should be handled when not only the police department but the town mayor may be at fault? Your comments are welcome.

Warning: The photo included here has been altered. For an unaltered version click here.




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