Camden, MO– A family is still grieving after their beloved golden retriever Marley was executed in front of them, including their two young children, just days before Christmas.

The three and a half year old playful pooch would go and meet the children at the bus stop when returning home from school in the afternoon and play with the other children.  Unfortunately on this day he barked at one of the students and followed her part of the way home.


Marley returned back to the house and everything was fine until an officer pulled into the family’s driveway to inform them that Marley would need to be kept on a leash when visiting the bus stop. Rhiannon Wilhite, the dog’s owner, was in the process of putting Marley in the house when he got loose and ran off playing in the yard.

Marley was reportedly returning to the house when the officer began firing on their pet.  The officer fired off two rounds, then Wilhite claims he paused for at least 30 seconds, before firing off a third round for good measure.

“When I looked that’s when I heard the shots. He shot him once then shot him twice, then there was a pause and he shot him a third time,” Rhiannon Wilhite told Fox4 News. “I heard my kids screaming and I ran into the house.”

Her husband and two children also witnessed the horrific event.

“I saw Marley get shot the second time, he fell on the ground. Then probably 30 seconds, at least 30 seconds after that of being on the ground he shot again, the third time,” said Raymond Wilhite.

Raymond Wilhite alleges that the officer told him he had “feared for his life,” as he executed the dog with no history of aggression and left his body laying lifelessly in the yard.

If all of this isn’t disturbing enough, the family is getting the run around and their pleas for justice are falling on deaf ears.

When the officer arrived he was driving a Ray County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, but told the family he was a Camden City officer.  When the grieving family went to the Camden Police, they were refused any help and were told to speak with the Ray County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Department proceeded to inform them that they do not do any internal investigations and that they would have to go through the Attorney General to file their complaint.

“The officer who shot and killed Marley is Deputy Holiman. There is NO leash law where they live however Marley was not running the neighborhood when he was shot and killed. He was shot and killed in his own front yard while running around his own house playing. The officer who was also in Marley’s yard was scared of Marley even though Marley had shown no aggression towards the deputy and wasn’t even paying attention to him. Marley was running around the house playing with his owner.” a post on the Justice for Marley Facebook page reads.

FOX 4 made several attempts to get a statement from the Ray County Sheriff’s Office. The staff hung up on them twice when asked about the incident and said they would not talk to the media.

The children’s last memory of Marley is the vision of him being shot to death. They asked to keep his collar to remember him.  They also told their parents the only thing they wanted for Christmas was to have Marley back.