Sergeant 1st Class Matthew Bessler ‘disgusted’ by Sheriff Steward’s statement

(Powell, Wyo.) – The investigation of what exactly occurred Saturday, Oct. 10 at around 12 p.m. near the intersection of Lane 9 and Road 5 just northeast of Powell is now over. Late Thursday night, the Park County Sheriff’s Office released a statement announcing there will be no charges in the shooting of combat K9 Michael.

Read the full report here.

We spoke with Sergeant 1st Class Matthew Bessler of Powell this morning, and he gave us his reaction to the Sheriff Steward’s Statement.

“I have to completely disagree with him, and I am disgusted by these false statements made by Sheriff Steward,” Bessler said. “The statements hold no validity.” He went on to explain that none of his neighbors, nor Jodi Church who was in charge of Michael at the time, were ever interviewed.

“What [this statement] does is it allows me to go on, knowing that they aren’t doing anything, just like they didn’t do anything in the first place. It’ll carry me forward. Now that the case is ‘closed’ I can, and will, release all photos and evidence to lawyers who are interested in information that will help to ensure the protection of service animals.”

In the Sheriff’s statement, the name of the alleged victim was released for the first time as Jeffery Marvin Brandt, age 59, also from Powell. Matthew stated he never knew Brandt, but what’s most hurtful is: “he never apologized, and never came by to say sorry. And in no way shape or form did the Sheriff’s department tell him not to talk to me.”

At the end of the day, Matthew remembers Michael as a veteran, and a service animal. “There are two very clear distinctions between the two,” Matthew said. “I’ll gain closure and peace of mind. But for now, I’m not going to allow these statements made directly by the Sheriff, who never came out to the house to interview me, nor anyone involved that day, to go unnoticed.”

Michael’s autopsy results are expected early next week. The Memorial Service for K9 Michael will be held at 1 p.m, Nov. 11 at the Yellowstone Conference Centerat Northwest College. Following the Memorial will be a Military Honors Ceremony for the canine veteran, held at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell.

“All are welcome to attend,” said Sergeant 1st Class Matthew Bessler of Powell. Michael was Matthew’s service dog, and formerly his combat partner on the ground in Iraq. “Michael was not only a service animal, but a hero … A war hero.”