NEWTON, Iowa -- Dan Brown says his 4-year-old English Bulldog, Bambino, was as close to him as family.
"I used to ride the kayak with him on it and he was good with kids. I'd take him to the Farmers Market with the other dogs downtown. He was fine with all that, he was a good dog man," Dan said.
That's why when police called to tell him Bambino was dead after staying with his ex-girlfriend Sidney Zellmer in Newton, it came as a complete shock. "Just devastating really. I go to bed crying and wake up crying. He was my best friend," Dan said.
On Aug. 20, Newton police say Bambino and Zellmer's dog were running at-large through the neighborhood after they escaped from Zellmer's home a block away. According to the police report, Ronald Kollman told police Bambino, after barking at a neighbor, came charging at him aggressively but Zellmer and Brown disagree.
"I don't know if people know about English bulldogs, but they are harmless, lazy and just loving," Zellmer said.
"He was a big boy and when he jumped up on you he might have pushed you back, but he was just an 80 pound bulldog," Brown said.
Kollman, who did not wish to go on camera due to the ongoing investigation, says the dogs should have been on a leash. He also says that he never meant to hurt the dogs and attempted to fire a warning shot. Brown thinks otherwise, saying, "It wasn't much of a warning shot. It hit my dog in the side and got stuck on the other side of his torso."
The report states Zellmer could be cited for dogs at-large, which Brown says has happened once before. "I always told her and the kids put them on chains, you can't go wrong," Brown said.
Kollman could be cited for discharging a firearm in city limits, but it all offers little consolation to Brown who says life will never be the same. "I'll miss him walking through the door and him always jumping up getting all excited. That's one thing I could always count on no matter how mad he was at me," he said. "Just one more day is all I wanted. I can't get that back now."
Brown says Bambino was properly licensed within the City of Des Moines but not Newton where his former girlfriend lives. Newton police say no charges have been formally filed and the investigation is ongoing.