MPD officer facing felony charges, accused of killing neighbor’s dog: “Really hard for me to take”

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MILWAUKEE —  A Milwaukee police officer is facing felony charges for shooting at his neighbors' dogs and killing one of them after the dogs ventured into his yard.

"Vinny passed and it was really hard for me to take it,"  Kyle Von Drasek said.

Vinny and Effie were the family's dogs, but they were extra special to Von Drasek, who has a cognitive disability.

The week of Thanksgiving, the family let their dogs out into their backyard, like they do most mornings.

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Kyle Von Drasek says he wants justice for his dog Vinny.

The yard was secured by an underground electronic fence. The dogs were linked to it through devices on their collars.

"I whistled and they came back running and the younger dog, Effie, was absolutely in fear. Terrorized," Elizabeth Sandretti, Von Drasek's mother, said.

The criminal complaint says the neighbor shot at the dogs with a Crossman Quest 1000x pellet rifle.

"I was like, 'I can't even believe this is happening,'" Sandretti said.

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Vinny the dog died after a neighbor allegedly shot him with a pellet gun.

"I carried him out to the car," Von Drasek recalled.

The family took Vinny to a nearby animal hospital, but he died there the next day.

"Seeing my brother cry is one of the worst things in the world," Anna Bartowitz, Von Drasek's sister said.

The family said they don't really know for sure what happened that morning, but they think their electronic fence must have malfunctioned.

Vinny

Vinny

They said they have never had any problems with their neighbor, Kenneth Lipinski, and he has never spoken to them about their dogs.

Kenneth Lipinski

Kenneth Lipinski

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Lipinski's investigation employee case file shows he has been investigated extensively for various issues since 1997.

"All of us have taken pride in the fact that we had a police officer living in the neighborhood. Gave us a sense of security and a sense of pride in the area that a police officer would want to live here too," Sandretti said.

"He used to drive up and down on his police motorcycle and we used to wave at him," Von Drasek said.

Now, they said they don't know what to think.

"Vinny was an innocent dog and Vinny didn't harm nobody at all," Von Drasek said.

Vinny

"This man could have easily come over and told us the dog was in his yard, but instead he made the decision and it altered all of our lives," Bartowitz said.

Despite FOX6's repeated attempts to speak to Lipinski on and off-camera, Lipinski said he wanted to follow his lawyer's advice and not talk to the media.

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FOX6 Investigator Meghan Dwyer talks with Officer Kenneth Lipinksi at his home.

"Just in the best interest of everything that's happened right now, I think it would be best if we just did not even make a statement today," Lipinski said.

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MPD Officer Kenneth Lipinski sits in court. He faces a felony charge of mistreatment of animals. He is suspended with pay.

Lipinski has pleaded not guilty to a felony mistreating animals charge.

He is suspended from work with pay.

The Milwaukee Police Department said Lipinksi is facing departmental discipline and an internal investigation is ongoing.

"What he did shows a total lack of judgment on every level," Bartowitz said.

A review of his employee case file from the Milwaukee Police Department shows this is far from the first time his judgment has been questioned by Internal Affairs.

He's been reprimanded 11 times and suspended once.

Since 1997, just two years after he was hired, there have been 35 Internal Affairs cases opened to investigate him. There's a list of allegations, including misconduct in public office, illegal strip search, soliciting a prostitute, sexual assault, perjury, battery, improper use of force and failure to be courteous, among others. While some of the allegations were found to be untrue, more often than not, there was simply not enough evidence to prove what really happened. In those cases, he was never disciplined.

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Vinny's owners don't want that history to repeat itself.

"I think as a police officer, you are supposed to be trained to uphold certain rules and laws and I think he should have known better in this case," Bartowitz said.

"I can forgive, but I also can't forget what he is capable of doing," Sandretti said.

Lipinski did apologize to his neighbors, but he didn't offer an explanation as to why he shot the dog. Another police officer who was called to the scene that day told the family Lipinski was just "having a bad day."

In 2015, he was cited for hunting without the proper color clothing on in deer season.

MPD said it's not unusual for police officers who have been on the force a long time — like Lipinski — to have multiple unsustained allegations against them. MPD points out that when Lipinski was disciplined before, it was for rule violations — not for breaking the law. None of the previous allegations against him resulted in criminal charges.

Vinny

Vinny

14 comments

  • Andy G

    No big deal about killing babes, but it is a big deal when killing a dog. I think this should be a saying for liberals, save the animal and kill the babes. Did you ever notice the poor little dog tv commercials asking for money to save the dog, but you don’t see give your money to save the baby. As a matter a fact we pay to have babes killed, it seems odd to me that a dog is more important then unborn children..

    • Scott Lacy

      Or, here’s a thought: perhaps it’s not one or the other. People can care deeply about animals and still care about other things as well.

    • AmericanFaith

      you are a total idiot…I hope you’re writing to your reps. in congress to abolish abortion and get to the bottom of the pizzagate scandal, if not you can just zip it…People can care about their dogs as much as they care about their children, and neither is wrong…by themselves or together Animal and child abuse is wrong…

  • deleted again

    When ever one of my neighbors dogs stray onto my yard they just pass through or if I know the dog I bring them home.
    If they have a tag I can call. Most dogs will simply go home. This seems like a very rash decision.

    • Scott

      It’s very charitable to call this a rash decision. It’s an awful, indefensible decision that will result in no penalty because cop.

  • CLOSU

    Time for him to face what he enforces, the law, and pay the price. Just because he was a having a bad day does not give him the right to shot and kill a dog or any animal. Does this mean that if a baby would’ve crawled to his yard he would’ve shot at the baby and be ok with it just because he was having a bad day?

    • Nick

      With his record, he probably would kill a baby. They should probably check to see if he has any missing family members.

  • Nick

    Look at all of his previous inquiries. If he were an average citizen or had that many complaints against him on any other job, he would’ve been arrested/fired. SEXUAL ASSAULT???!!! I don’t give a flop what degree; it’s still not the type of behavior you’d want to see in someone who’s supposed to uphold the law. This is bulls-it. At what fu-king point is an “officer” fired? What does it take?

    • Grace

      Any person an officer arrests or speaks with who makes ANY sort of complaint about them is investigated by internal affairs. They follow up on any accusation. I know many in law enforcement and any given officer has more than 50-100 allegations made about them that end with no repercussions. This is due to the nature of the beast. People who are in trouble with the law are most often enraged and flap their jaw making any accusation they can to get themselves out of a jam or to get revenge. You have to take this into account when the news media splashes allegations on the screen. How many words or labels would be posted on a news clip about us based on something someone said about us in anger…though it be far from truth.
      How quick we are to form opinions based on one-sided news media clips.
      Lastly I would say that my heart goes out to the family….but how many kids are mauled by straying dogs? Too many in my neighborhood. I guess if it was my child’s safety vs. consistent straying dogs posing threat to my child, I would snap it with a pellet gun to get it gone. How many times do I need to come home to dogs being in my yard and chasing my kids around terrifying them? When you don’t know the owners and nothing is being done and people are NOT being responsible with their animals, I find it appropriate to take action to scare the animals off.
      And again, my heart DOES go out to the hurting family, shame the dog died.

  • Andy G

    I agree, people can and do care and love both. But the point is, hundreds of thousands of unborn children are and have been killed at our expense and I do not think I should have to pay for killing babes, and I do not see the news media covering the story when people kill the unborn children.

  • Cee

    This country is a joke. Let the dog be a human being who is minority. They will have found that he did nothing wrong to bring charges. Some people have never interested with a black or brown person before in their life but still posses inborn hatred for them.

Comments are closed.