Seattle man released on $10,000 bail after fatally shooting woman's dog in her front yard

"I held her in my arms until her heart stopped.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A Seattle man has been charged after allegedly shooting a woman’s dog in the head in broad daylight as he was walking past her house.

The dog had been rescued from the streets of Qatar several years earlier.

According to charging documents, on April 4, Michelle Michaels was inside her Lake City home when she heard a gunshot outside at approximately 1:40 pm.

She looked out the window and saw a man holding a handgun pointed at the head of her dog, Stevie, nearby, as the canine was bleeding.

Michelle ran outside, picked up the dog, and felt a heartbeat. She ran into the road trying to flag down a passing car but the gunman was still there and cars did not stop.  

Stevie died shortly thereafter in Michelle's arms in her home as officers arrived. Michelle told The UnDivided podcast, "I held her in my arms until her heart stopped.”

The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Magan Yussuf, fled to his home a few doors away.

As officers were speaking to Michelle, Yussuf was seen leaving his home and was taken into custody. He told officers he was not injured and declined medical attention.

According to court documents, Yussuf claimed that he had been bitten by the dog, but when police checked his leg for injuries there were no bite marks, skin breaks or other injuries that would have indicated a dog bite.

Yussuf then claimed that the dog pulled on his pant leg, but there were no tears or damage to the jeans. 

Yussuf's mother claimed that the dog had been terrorizing Yussuf for 13 years, but Stevie was only 4 years old and had only been living in the neighborhood for 2 years.  

According to the Seattle Police Department, “There was almost a ten-minute lag in between when the 911 caller first saw Yussuf enter his home and when he was taken into custody by police.  During this time, he went back into his house put the handgun in a dresser and changed his clothing. Presumably he spent some of that time speaking with his mother about what had occurred.”

One witness said they did not hear any yelling or barking, while another said that the dog was just standing there when it was shot.
Yussuf was charged with animal cruelty in the first degree, a charge that carries up to a year in jail, but King County Prosecutors only asked for $10,000 bail, and he was released back to his home.

Now Michelle is afraid to be in her own home and is trying to move out of the neighborhood.

A spokesperson for the King County Prosecutors told The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI, "House Bill 1961, which passed both chambers earlier this year and was signed by the governor, makes first-degree animal cruelty a ranked offense. However, it will be ranked as a level III. That means that rather than 0-364 days with a conviction, the sentencing range moves to 2 months to 5 years – though that’s dependent on a convicted defendant’s criminal history. With no history, it’s unlikely to see a court go for the high end of the range based on the court rules, guidelines and weighing arguments from both sides. That new law does not take effect until June 6, so it would not apply here even if the defendant you asked about is convicted.”

GoFundMe has been set up for Michaels.
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