UP man alleges officer involved in death of dog, police receive death threats

ISHPEMING — An Ishpeming teenager says he plans to file a lawsuit against the Ishpeming Police Department in connection with the death of his dog. ABC 10 sat down with the teenage boy and the Ishpeming Police Department today to get both sides of the story.

Mark Granlund says he rescued this dog, a pit bull mix named Tank, about four months ago. “When I took it in, it was skin and bones. You could pick out every bone on this dog,” Granlund said.

On July 20th, Granlund says he let Tank go outside to go to the bathroom at their apartment on West Superior Street in Ishpeming. That’s when Mark said the Ishpeming Police Department took his dog.

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“I heard an altercation outside and I tried to hurry up and go out there. The officer called my dog out of my yard.” Granlund said that he tried contacting police to get his dog back. He says he got no response from police.

Tank was taken to the Ishpeming Township Pound, where he stayed for a week. The dog was then transferred to UPAWS, where Mark picked him up. When Granlund brought his dog home, he noticed something was off.

“The excitement was gone. He didn’t eat for four days.” Granlund eventually took Tank to the vet, where a doctor said that his dog had an infection.

Tank was put to sleep by the vet. Granlund claims that the Ishpeming Police caused his dog’s death.

“It shouldn’t have happened. I want to stop this. My dog was illegally taken out of my property and it shouldn’t have happened,” said Granlund

However, there are two sides to every story.

Ishpeming Police Chief Dan Willey says that the officer involved with this incident did nothing wrong.

“On July 20th, my officers got called to a house on 133 W. Superior on a possible domestic violence situation,” said Willey. “This dog left the property, followed the officer around to the other properties, approach the dog on the sidewalk, so he was in violation of the ordinance. Quite frankly, if he would’ve answered the door, we would have gave him the dog right then and here.”

Willey added that officers took custody of the dog because the owner was not being responsible and they didn’t want the dog to get hit by a car. Tank was in good condition when police dropped him off at the pound, therefore relieving their responsibility for the dog.

The story has blown up on social media. There’s a Justice For Tank Facebook Page that is growing hundreds of members, and a hashtag ‘#JusticeForTank’ that went viral across the Upper Peninsula.

The social media postings have caused a lot of problems for the police department, including death threats against Ishpeming P.D. Officers.

“I don’t appreciate this social media attack on our department for something people are basing their information and feelings on just one side of the story without any of the facts. That’s really disheartening. My guys face a lot bad situations in this city and when we do something right, like picking up a dog that’s being neglected and taking it to a safe place and we’re being accused of hearting this dog… that angers me,” said Willey.

Ishpeming Police did issue Granlund a civil infraction on July 31st for allowing Tank to run at large, which is a voliation of a city ordinance. Granlund says that Tank will have an autopsy in the near future and that he still isn’t sure where Tank got the infection that ultimately cost the dog his life.