Police Officer Reportedly Calls Dog to Him Then Shoots Dog to Death

Max, as shown on the WFAA website.

Max, as shown on the WFAA website.

In August, police in Cleburne, TX responded to a call about 3 loose dogs who had escaped their fenced yard.  One dog was reportedly captured without incident before police arrived.  The other two were located by a police officer, whose identity is being kept hidden by the department, who reported that the 7 month old puppy behaved in a threatening manner toward him, including growling, and that he had to shoot the puppy to death.

The puppy’s owner received the news and could not believe it.  Her puppy, called Max, had never acted in an aggressive manner and the story didn’t make sense to her.  So she FOIA’d the officer’s body cam footage of the shooting.  That footage (which I have not watched) reportedly shows the officer coaxing the two loose dogs to him, the dogs behaving in a friendly manner and the officer killing the puppy.

The Cleburne police department is investigating itself in the matter and hiding as many details as possible:

Cleburne police are now investigating, but say the short video clip of the dog being shot doesn’t tell the whole story.

[...]

A statement [police spokeswoman Kelly] Summey provided said the dog was indeed being aggressive before he was shot.

[...]

Summey wouldn’t tell News 8 if the officer in question is on leave during the investigation, or how long the investigation will take.

Summey also didn’t know how many dogs have been fatally shot by police in Cleburne in recent years.

You are not seeing what you are seeing.  We won’t tell you anything.  We know nothing.  Seems legit.

If anyone here has a stronger stomach than I have, please share your impressions of what’s shown in the video.  Do you hear any growling?  Do you see any body language from the dogs that would reasonably be interpreted as threatening?  Does it appear that the officer would reasonably be in fear of his safety based on the actions of the dogs?

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Weekend Jade

Jade with her front feet on the elevated concrete pad I use to bathe dogs (on rare occasion).

Jade with her front feet on the elevated concrete pad I use to bathe dogs (on rare occasion).

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

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ACLU Stands Up for First Amendment Rights of Animal Advocates in Baltimore County

Dog ID #04167 at the Baltimore Co pound, as pictured on Petfinder.

Dog ID #04167 at the Baltimore Co pound, as pictured on Petfinder.

The troubled Baltimore Co pound in MD has banned the public from photographing pets in the facility and the ACLU has written to county officials condemning the ban:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland says Baltimore County officials violated free-speech rights by banning photography at the county-run animal shelter, a move the ACLU describes as an effort to stifle critics.

The letter describes the photo ban as showing “a government agency endeavoring to limit its exposure to criticism and public accountability, and to stifle any perceived criticism that does arise, even where the agency’s purpose of serving the animals of Baltimore County is undermined as a result.”

County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler says the complaint is baseless and stems from a small group of pesky do-gooders:

“This is a story manufactured by a handful of advocates who were disrupting shelter employees from doing their jobs,” Kobler said.

Don Mohler, chief of staff for the County Executive, also has excuses:

“[The animal advocates] wanted to manufacture a crisis, and they would wait around until a dog soiled the cage and immediately take a picture and post it — inferring that the dog had been living in those conditions for a period of time, and that’s not true,” Mohler said.

Such dedication.  Waiting around for a dog to pee in his cage so they could snap a photo.  But in case you don’t buy that, he’s got another good one:

“This is not about photography,” Mohler said. “This is about the fact that there is a group of advocates who really want Baltimore County to release wild cats into the community.”

The county apparently has a kill policy for cats it determines to be feral.  And pesky do-gooders, along with the overwhelming majority of the general public, think that’s wrong.

Not to be outdone, Kobler also offered a back-up excuse for the photo ban to the newspaper:

“For some animals, the shutter click and the flash can frighten animals that are already nervous in a shelter environment. So sometimes, the staff members might ask people not to take an animal’s picture,” she said.

Both Kohler and Mobler said that the public is generally allowed to take pictures of the animals.  Except when they’re not.  But that’s because reasons.

So to recap, it’s not that Baltimore Co is trying to silence critics and violate their Constitutional rights, it’s assorted other things:

  • Volunteers photographing shelter pets are disruptors who prevent the staff from doing their job of killing more than 60% of the animals in their care.
  • They wait around all day for a dog to lift his leg in the cage just to capture the puddle on the floor.
  • They actually don’t care about photographing animals, they just want the county to stop killing feral cats and start doing TNR like other progressive shelters.
  • The flash from the camera scares animals and the county officials just aren’t going to stand by and let shelter pets be frightened.  After all, there’s killing to be done – lots of it.  Calm, friendly killing – not like the flash of a camera.

If for some insane reason you are still not feeling reassured, I got you:

County Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, said the shelter has made strides in overcoming past issues. He trusts it’s being run well.

“Every time there’s a policy, there’s a reason,” he said.

So there you go.  There’s some reason for the photo ban.  This guy apparently doesn’t know what that reason may be but strides have been made and everything is fine, probably.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Case Update: “Peanut” Kilby Asks Judge for Reduced Sentence

Atlanta’s Fox-5 reporter Randy Travis will forever be a hero to me for jamming himself in the doorway of a fake “no kill” shelter he was exposing while a board member tried to shut him out.  The director of the facility he exposed, Lowanda “Peanut” Kilby, was found guilty on 60 counts of racketeering and theft charges in connection with the pet killings she conducted in secret.

This week, Kilby’s lawyer asked a Rabun Co superior court judge for a reduction in the 25 year sentence on the grounds that it was unfair and had been influenced by Randy Travis’s public expose on the news.  The judge refused.  Kilby had previously been heard on a jailhouse phone call attempting to cheat justice by suggesting a favor be called in from a judge she said owed her.  That didn’t work either.  She’s now requesting a new trial.

While it’s Kilby’s right as a citizen to work the court system to the best of her lawyer’s abilities, I just hate that she still has hope she’s getting out of this.  Through her “Lucky Dog” program, she snuffed the life out of countless pets whose sponsors thought they were being rehomed.  She showed no mercy.  She took all hope away from those animals.  She needs to serve her time and feel “lucky” it’s not yet a crime to needlessly kill healthy, friendly pets because if it was, she would have been prosecuted for much more than racketeering.  She’s in her own Lucky Dog program right now and should be thankful that there isn’t someone like her in charge of it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Fort Worth Police Officer Charged with Animal Cruelty Only After Resident Forces Police to Do Their Jobs

In Fort Worth, TX, two dogs went for a romp around the neighborhood after a gate in their yard was accidentally left unlatched on September 29.  Bentley, a 2 year old German shepherd and BB, a 9 year old pitbull, were spotted by a Good Samaritan who stopped her car to see if she could coax the dogs to her.  Just then, some nutter pulls up in his SUV, gets out and starts waving a gun around, telling the woman he’s going to shoot the shepherd for killing his cat.

The frightened woman tried to talk the guy down, sympathizing with him for his loss while explaining that the dogs aren’t attacking anyone now, that they are trying to get away, to go home.  The man called her a stupid bitch at which point she turned back toward the pitbull, whom she was able to get into her car.  She heard 4 or 5 gunshots and saw the SUV speed away.  She called 911, gave a description of the man with the gun and the SUV, then talked with a local resident who had witnessed the shooting.  The witness said she heard the shepherd cry out after the shots and then saw him run away.

Three Ft Worth officers and a Tarrant County sheriff’s deputy responded to the 911 call and interviewed both women.

The deputy returned a few minutes later to tell the women that Fort Worth police would be handling the case because they had jurisdiction, she said.

“He said the officers has made contact with the man. He works for Fort Worth PD … He said the dog killed his cat and he did nothing wrong,” the woman said. “I said, ‘He fired shots, sir. This is the city limits. He was not on his property.’ ”

The Good Sam waited until 9pm to hear from the Ft Worth police department but they never called.  So she called 911 again to follow up and was told the officers had never filed a report.

“I said, ‘Sir, shots were fired by this man,’ ” the woman said.

She spoke with a supervisor.  A few hours later someone from the Ft Worth PD finally called her regarding the shooting.  Investigators came to her house the next morning and had her pick the shooter out of a photo line-up.

The Good Sam learned that Bentley had been found dead and that AC had picked up his remains.  She kept BB at her home and put up flyers in the neighborhood, advertising him as found.  His owner, who had already been to six pounds looking for his lost pets, saw the flyer and called the woman.  She was happy to reunite BB with his owner but also had to tell the man that Bentley had been killed.

The shooter, deputy chief Kenneth Flynn, has been charged with animal cruelty and placed on desk duty while the police department investigates itself.  Police officials refused to say whether the three responding officers are being investigated for their failure to file a report nor would they identify any of them.  But they’re prolly doing the right thing – they’re the police!

The Good Sam, who had the guts to round up a strange pitbull on the street and get him into her car while a freak with a gun was cussing her out, is too afraid of police retaliation to give her name to the local paper.  Without her perseverance, this crime obviously would have been covered up by dirty cops.  Thank you, Good Sam.  I love that irresponsible public.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Lake Co Pound Director Kills 147 animals in 9 Days, Gets Fired

Last year, Jacquelyn Johnston was a clinic supervisor at the Miami Dade pound.  She killed animals for convenience in spite of the fact that the county commission had unanimously passed a no kill resolution after voters overwhelmingly demanded it.  In an e-mail to rescuers last summer, Johnston described some of the pets she was going to kill unless rescuers saved them with just a few hours notice:

“Sweet big boy, now has URI’’ — upper respiratory infection.

“Nervous and shy, but warms up if you spend time with her.’’

“Older pet but would make a great senior retiree…’’

“Adopter never showed up, super sweet, already spayed, 35-40 lbs.’’

“This is the one who came in from a caring homeless man, conformed pittie’’ — pit bull terrier, illegal in Miami-Dade

“Has ticks that we are treating. Needs out by tomorrow, no more time.’’

“Just a puppy and been here too long.’’

On October 1, the troubled Lake Co pound in FL hired Johnston as director. The sheriff’s office that runs the pound reportedly clearly explained to Johnston that getting animals out alive was her number one priority and that killing animals was only to be done as a last resort.

Johnston apparently thought she was in keeping with this directive when she immediately embarked on a massive killing spree. In nine days, Johnston had killed 147 animals. Someone alerted the sheriff’s office and Johnston was fired on the spot. Too late for 147 animals, including “some dogs that could have made good pets for people” according to Lt. John Herell with the sheriff’s office.  But let’s face it, the death toll could have climbed even higher had she not been shown the door.

While I do not claim to know what Johnston was thinking while she was on her killfest at Lake Co, it seems to me the situation is symptomatic of our broken shelter system.  Instead of sheltering animals, they kill them.  Instead of calling it killing (which is what it is), they call it euthanasia – a kindness.  Instead of doing their jobs to protect and rehome animals, they violate their most basic right – the right to live.  When we criticize them for killing, they tell us they are doing the best they can, we all want the same thing and that we shouldn’t judge unless we are willing to go down there and kill animals ourselves.

Everything is ass backwards and tragically, this is the norm, not the exception in our broken shelter system.  When you explain to someone who would kill “just a puppy” for convenience that killing is a last resort at your facility and her job is to get animals out alive, she likely recognized the same old song and dance.  Riiiight, nobody wants to kill animals, nudge nudge, wink wink.

And then she started in doing what she apparently perceived to be her job:  Say one thing publicly, do the opposite behind closed doors.  Call it pet overpopulation, kill animals.  Blame the irresponsible public, kill animals.  Say you’re doing your best to get pets into homes, kill animals.  This is what these people do.  They are monsters.  I don’t know if they were always monsters or if working a job where they kill friendly dogs and cats for a paycheck made them that way, nor do I care.  What I care about is saving shelter pets.

If Lake Co cared about protecting the lives of the animals in their care, they wouldn’t have given this new hire a few talking points, a box of Fatal Plus and sent her on her way.  Lake Co should have built protections for the animals into the system.  No animal killing without veterinary authorization, for example.  No animal killing without approval from the sheriff’s office.  No animal killing without a minimum 2 business days notice posted online listing all animals to be killed along with their photos.  But apparently all Lake Co gave Johnston was the key to the drug cupboard and a nudge nudge wink wink directive that killing is a last resort.

Johnston is not an anomaly.  She is typical of the type of long term employee who seeks out work in pet killing facilities.  She knew the routine.  She listened to the Lake Co sheriff’s office talk about saving animals and got the message:  kill.  This is why shelter reform is so desperately needed in this country.  Not only are shelters killing animals, they are employing monsters.  In Lake Co, Johnston was stopped and the animals she hadn’t yet managed to kill got lucky.

Are the animals housed in your local pet killing facility lucky?  Or is the director there still killing at will, probably with the support of your elected officials who don’t care to know the truth?  And are you being marginalized for your animal advocacy, being told you don’t understand what a hard job it is and that nobody wants to kill animals?

To the person or persons who spoke up for the animals being needlessly killed in Lake County – thank you.  Keep going.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Philly Pound Oops-Kills Microchipped Lost Dog Whose Owner Filled Out Lost Dog Report

When Cailin Mulvihill’s 15 year old microchipped chihuahua named Rhonda accidentally wandered out of her yard, she immediately began searching for her.  She put up flyers around the neighborhood and went to the Philadelphia Animal Care & Control Team where she filled out a lost dog report.  One day later, a Good Samaritan saw Ms. Mulvihill’s flyer and called her with good news:  Rhonda had been found just a block from home and taken to the pound.  Ms. Mulvihill immediately went to reclaim her pet but the pound had killed her upon intake.  Oops.

The devastated woman asked for an explanation from ACCT’s staff, who initially told her they had scanned Rhonda’s microchip but it didn’t work, Mulvihill explained.

Ms. Mulvihill didn’t buy it. She drove Rhonda’s body to her veterinarian, Dr. Judith Tamas, where the pet was scanned three times and the chip was located three times. (There is a video of Rhonda’s body being scanned at the link but her face is not shown.)  So the pound staff had lied.

“This is the worst kind of negligence [and] laziness,” Dr. Tamas said.

I was thinking that too but pound director Sue Cosby seems to be of the mind that the
rush to kill Rhonda was a kindness:

“I believe the expediency was based on concern for the condition of the dog. It was not callous,” says Cosby, “but policy was overlooked.”

Policy being to scan every animal for a microchip – twice. Staff failed to scan Rhonda even once in their rush to kindness her. Then they lied about it to the owner in an effort to cover up their wrongdoing. I never thought “expediency” could be made to sound so creepy.

Rhonda’s vet said her health was that of a typical elderly dog and that she suffered from sporadic seizures – something which could have been quickly clarified by the pound staff had they done their jobs and gotten the owner’s contact info off the chip. Or failing that, checked their own lost dog reports to find the owner’s info. Or you know – kill, lie, whatever.

After admitting the error, the ACCT put the staff member responsible for the euthanization on unpaid leave while the agency decides what steps to take next, Cosby said.

Maybe a roundtable discussion on expediency and the value of life? Just a suggestion.

The director is refusing to release the name of the employee. But we should just take her word that there is someone on unpaid leave and the pound is taking this seriously, I guess.

Meanwhile Ms. Mulvihill grieves for the loss of her family member and gave the local NBC affiliate a message for her beloved pet:

“I love you Rhonda and you are perfect in every way.”

We have tragically seen callous pound workers fail to protect the lost pets in their care and kill them instead of returning them to their owners countless times. Often, they blame the owners for failing to microchip their pets. Except when they kill chipped pets like Rhonda, in which case – uh, lie.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Weekend Jade

Jade is halfway through her mandatory jail term, aka post-spay recovery period.

Jade is halfway through her mandatory jail term, aka post-spay recovery period.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

black cat dance

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