For Some Neighbors, Not Cleaning Up After Your Dog Is A Murderable Offense

As videos from around the length and breadth of the Internet will attest, pet dogs seem to spend most of their lives either sleeping or being absurd furry goofballs. As prone as they can be to unpredictable bouts of the zoomies and such, dogs can be very smart creatures indeed. Per Guinness World Records, the most intelligent breed of dog is the border collie. The outlet reports that University of British Columbia professor Stanley Coren found that the species, along with other canine smarty-pants, could understand up to 250 words, which is evidently about the same as a toddler.

According to Healthline, many human children around this age start to be potty-trained. One advantage of such a technique is that the child has more control of the process, and so is less likely to be noncompliant or feel resentful towards it. But while a human toddler will be potty trained, a dog won't. Thus, dog poop remains a controversial issue, and one that owners and walkers should remain responsible for. In one tragic case, though, a man whose property was encroached on by dog poop reacted by shooting the owner dead.

The scourge of dog poop

The sad scene played out in Denver in June 2020, The Denver Post reported. Isabella Thallas and partner Darian Simon were passing through the neighborhood of one Michael Close when their dog felt the need to answer the call of nature.

This is, granted, a problematic issue, and the best of us have fallen victim to the dog-poop-in-the-grass-that-we-didn't-see-until-it-was-too-late disaster. Around the world, fines and other punishments are widely administered to those who don't clean up after their dogs. In April 2016, per the Guardian, the government of Madrid issued a statement complaining that there was "still excrement in the streets, parks, and other places." To attempt to tackle this, authorities declared that those who left poop un-scooped could be sentenced to a couple of days' work cleaning the streets their pet had befouled, or a hefty fine that could reach €1,500 (around $1,550).

Tragically, that day in Denver, Close seemed to take even greater offense to the dog poop near his apartment. The Denver Post went on to report that words were exchanged between the couple and Close before he picked up an AK-47 and opened fire at them both.

So much more than about dog poop

Michael Close, according to The Denver Post, had been stewing from a previous incident with a dog of his own. It had been set upon while on a walk. According to the newspaper, Close had sent an alarming missive in the wake of this incident, in which he claimed he was going to kill the other dog owners for not being responsible with their pets and endangering his own.

Via NBC News, the Associated Press reported that Isabella Thallas was tragically killed by Close, and her partner injured. Neither of them had been involved in the aforementioned run-in with Close's dog. At the trial in September 2022, Sonja Prins, in Close's defense, stated that he had been through a traumatic time prior to the sad event, citing his abusive childhood and the ending of a long-term relationship, among other factors. The prosecution countered Close's defense, arguing that he had been acting with full intent at the time of the shooting. He had fired a total of 24 shots at the couple, reportedly.

To reflect this, Close was found guilty of attempted murder and first-degree murder, according to the Denver DA. Receiving some degree of closure and justice for her daughter's death, Anna Thallas stated, per the Associated Press via NBC News, "We've been waiting two-and-a-half years for this day ... "