SC Deputy’s Dashcam Records Dog Killing

The CBS affiliate in Augusta has posted dashcam video from an Aiken County deputy’s vehicle recorded in December 2013.  The dashcam recorded images and audio from the deputy’s response to a report of a loose, vicious dog.  I haven’t watched the video due to the violent nature of the subject matter apparently depicted.  But the transcription of the exchange between Deputy Miller and the unidentified Aiken Co ACO he requested assistance from is chilling.

The dog had been “corralled” by the deputy’s vehicle when the ACO arrived on scene and prepared to catch the dog with a chokepole:

“How you want to go about this?” the deputy says to the animal control officer. “Who’s doing the shooting? Me or you?”
[...]
Miller continued making comments about shooting the dog.

“I’m fixing to shoot that dog. I just want you to know that. I don’t play around with dogs,” he says to the animal control officer.

“If he attacks me, go ahead,” responds animal control.

“Oh, I’m going to light him up, Bo,” Miller says back.

“Just let me know before you start firing,” the animal control officer says.

“I won’t hit you,” says Miller.
[...]
Moments later, the dog’s owner comes out of her nearby home. She later told News 12 she wanted to get control of her dog.

“Go inside, ma’am!” says the deputy to the dog-owner. “I don’t need you in the background as I start shooting.”

The dashcam is apparently pointed away from the action and the deputy wrote in his report that the dog charged both his car and the ACO.  The exchange appears to indicate that the deputy’s intention was to shoot the dog – er, light him up – from the outset.  It’s unclear whether the ACO made any meaningful attempt to capture the dog with the pole.

Neighbor Malia Busbee told the station she’s still sick over the killing:

“It’s a sad situation,” she says. “I loved that dog, and I’m an animal lover. I can’t help it. My mother was, and I am too. And I loved her.”

Captain Eric Abdullah with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said the killing was justified. Deputy Miller has not been reprimanded.

Too many police officers seem to lack the tools needed to handle dangerous dog situations in a non-violent manner.  Even when they receive assistance from trained ACOs, police sometimes seem to rely on a “shoot first” policy in response to dogs.  If there is any investigation into the killing, it’s the police department investigating itself.  In this case, the captain issued the all-clear without any investigation.  The police are failing to police themselves in far too many cases where their four legged victims pay the ultimate price.  How many more pets must be shot to death by police before meaningful change is demanded by taxpayers?

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Updates on Pet Killings in Merced County, CA

Remember in June when Merced Co Animal Control raided the place where they had been sending thousands of kittens – Last Hope Cat Kingdom – including the day of the raid?  An astounding 200 kittens were killed on site.  After the violence was over, Kristi Caseri, Merced Co AC supervisor, commented on Facebook in response to a post about the raid:

“We are the champions my friends! And well (sic) keep on fighting till we win! Some day the idiots will all be dealt with.”

The comment was later deleted but not before Last Hope Cat Kingdom owner Renate Schmitz saw it:

 “I was shocked that they celebrate something like this and say they are the champions,” Schmitz said. “It came to my attention and I showed it right away to [pound manager Rick] Blackwell and I said, ‘This is what you people do here.’”

Blackwell said no disciplinary action was taken against Caseri because the post was on a private Facebook page and did not divulge information about the case.

No charges have been brought against Renate Schmitz or anyone at Last Hope Cat Kingdom.  A public hearing regarding the sanctuary’s permit will be held in approximately 2 months.

And at the Merced police department, where they were taking injured pets to the shooting range to be shot to death by police officers, the supposed new policy for handling injured pets is a giant question mark.

Since then, the department and city have not released any information regarding the new policy, details about how it will work or what steps they are taking in the process.
[...]
Calls placed to Police Chief Norm Andrade, Merced City Manager John Bramble and Lt. Bimley West were not returned Friday.

The new policy, which involves hands-on consultation with a veterinarian, doesn’t seem to have been implemented yet. But the department was forced to come up with something due to public outcry after the local paper exposed the practice of driving injured pets to a shooting range to face killing by officers untrained in animal euthanasia:

“What we’ve done already is decide the police won’t do that anymore,” [Merced mayor Stan] Thurston said. “The thing is, the police officers do not want to put a bleeding injured dog in the back of their car.”

I take it he means they don’t want to put a bleeding injured dog in their car in order to drive the animal to a vet. Because we know they’ve been putting bleeding injured dogs in their cars for the last 25 years when it meant they got to blast them with a shotgun at the firing range. Oh but nobody WANTS to kill animals so what am I saying?

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Protecting and Serving and Shooting Dogs in Their Own Yards

Two more sad stories about police entering private property and shooting the dogs who live there.

In El Monte, California, police entered a family’s yard through a locked gate which contained a “Beware of Dog” sign.  Two dogs approached and one of the officers went back outside the gate and re-locked it.  The officer still inside the yard shot one of the dogs.  The 2 year old dog suffered for an hour until AC arrived and brought the injured dog to a vet.  The vet told the family the cost to save the dog would be $8000 and since the family was unable to pay, the dog was euthanized.  There is video of the incident at the link. 

The family says they had requested police call ahead of their arrival so the two dogs could be secured.  Officers blamed the family for not having a “Beware of Dog” sign on the gate.  The sign is clearly visible in the video.  The El Monte police department has hired a PR firm to handle all inquiries about the shooting so they don’t have to answer any questions about what their officers did to this family.  I wonder if the PR firm’s bill is more than $8000.  (Thanks Clarice for the link.)

***

In Texas, police were mistakenly serving a warrant at the home of a dog trainer when two dogs approached the officer.  He fired three shots, hitting one of the dogs in the neck and missing the six year old child who was playing nearby.  The warrant was for some guy the dog trainer never heard of in another town (oops) whose car registration had expired.  A local animal group is collecting donations to pay for the wounded dog’s vet bills.  (Thanks Chris for the link.)

GA ACO Who Ordered Lap Dog Shot to Death Hides from Reporter

 

Ella, as seen on the WSB-TV website.

Ella, as seen on the WSB-TV website.

Animal Control for the city of Manchester, GA falls under the police department.  There was apparently a dog fight which occurred on or prior to March 21 in Manchester.  While it’s unclear to me which dogs might have been involved in the fight, this article makes clear what happened to a dog named Ella on March 21.  She was shot to death while inside her own fenced yard.

The Manchester ACO apparently decided that Ella was the attacker in the dog fight and that she was rabid – a diagnosis normally determined in a lab after testing an animal’s head.  The ACO called police and told them to shoot the dog to death while she sat inside her fenced yard.  Ella’s owner, Robin Garrett, was not home at the time.  A neighbor attempted to advocate for Ella’s life but police ordered him to return to his home.  He heard the shotgun when it was used to kill Ella.  Ms. Garrett is devastated:

Garrett said Ella loved to sit on her lap and play with the grandkids. She said the 2-year-old beagle-boxer mix was current on her vaccinations and had no history of aggression.

If Ella was current on her rabies vaccine, she was not rabid.  If the city of Manchester cares.  When a local reporter attempted to speak with the ACO, he got in his truck and drove away.  Probably to provide “services” to some other unlucky family in the area.

Police are investigating themselves in the incident and have never interviewed the neighbor who tried to prevent the killing through peaceful means.  It is now May.  No action has been taken against anyone involved in Ella’s killing.

If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

More on Caged Dogs Shot to Death in CA Shelter/Action Alert

(Read the previous post for background.)

A source tells me the 5 dogs had been surrendered to the Selma shelter for “euthanasia” due to aggression.  If that is accurate, it raises a number of other issues.  Was it dog aggression, human aggression, or something else?  There was apparently just one owner for all 5 dogs.  I don’t know what steps, if any, were taken by the shelter to determine if the dogs were truly dangerous with no reasonable hope of rehabilitation, friendly, or somewhere in between.

The same source states the dogs were housed in 2 kennels:  3 dogs in one cage and 2 dogs in the other.  If accurate, this further undermines the claim that the officer feared for his life due to the potential threat of 5 dogs mauling him.

I think the chief should supply more information to the public.  He says he wants the shelter’s record to speak for itself.  I want the chief to speak for the 5 dogs who were in his department’s care and ended up dying violently and unnecessarily at the hands of one of his officers.   He needs to order a full investigation of these killings by an independent agency.  The officer who killed the dogs should be prohibited from working with animals in future and charged with whatever statutes he is found to have violated with regard to these dogs.

Contact:

Chief of Police: Myron Dyck, (559) 891-2228 or e-mail myrond@cityofselma.com

Shelter Contact Person: Sgt. Terry Reid, (559) 891-2281 or (559) 896-2525 or  e-mail terryr@cityofselma.com

Selma Police Department:  Mailing address is 1935 E. Front Street, Selma CA, 93662, Fax 559-896-8839

CA Animal Control Directors Association

CA Police Officer Shoots Caged Dogs to Death

Selma, CA is one of the many cities where the pound falls under the police department.  Selma Police Chief Myron Dyck says “that the record of the Selma Animal Shelter speaks for itself,” citing a live release rate in excess of 98% for 2012.  I am guessing there is a relationship with volunteers and other pet advocates to credit for that success.  Because it doesn’t seem like the chief or his officers – one of them, at least – are particularly committed to lifesaving:

Selma’s top cop defends the action of one of his officers who shot and killed five caged dogs inside the city’s animal shelter.

The five dogs, described as Pitbulls, were apparently marked for killing, although the article does not state why.  The officer reportedly called a vet to come out to the shelter to kill the dogs but later learned the vet couldn’t make it.  So the officer intended to bring the dogs to the vet’s office.  But that didn’t happen:

“As soon as they went to open the gate the dogs rushed the gate,” Dyck said “They felt if they opened it up they would be bitten at minimum and if opened all the way they would be knocked down and mauled.”

The officer then shot all five caged dogs to death.  And the police chief is all over defending the killings:

The officer feared for his life, Dyck said. He even mentioned the recent mauling of a Selma man, who was found dead last month.

Right.  A Selma man was tragically mauled to death last month.  But not this police officer.  In fact, this officer wasn’t bitten or even side-eyed from what the article states.  This officer was “rushed” by five dogs who saw a chance to get out of a cage door being opened.  Why five dogs were in one cage at a shelter, I have no idea.  But I know my own friendly dogs rush the gate every day when I let them out from the small yard to the big yard.  I consider it normal.

At any rate, it seems clear to me that the caged dogs did not in any way represent a threat to the officer, never mind a lethal threat.  Because they were locked in a cage and he was outside it.  So screw that “feared for his life” excuse.  And he wasn’t mauled, despite the fact that another man in a completely different set of circumstances was mauled recently.  Red herring.

The officer could have called a different vet, waited until the first vet became available or used humane, non-lethal methods to move the dogs.  He did none of these things.  I see no other reasonable explanation for the killing of these dogs except that the officer wanted to shoot them.  Which is weird because I’ve heard that no one in the animal sheltering business wants to kill animals.

Local pet advocates expressed their upset to the chief during a meeting:

Shelter volunteers also say Dyck assured them that no dogs at the shelter would ever be shot by an officer again, unless it was a life or death situation.

No mention of any investigation into the killing of these five dogs.  Cased closed, I guess.

Adams Co Deputy Visits Wrong Address, Kills Friendly 35 Pound Dog

Denver business owner Jeff Fisher took his 8 year old, friendly dog Ziggy to work with him every day.  He had raised Ziggy from the age of 6 weeks and considered him a family member and “best friend”.

On Monday night, a pair of Adams Co deputies were responding to an alarm at another address but went to Mr. Fisher’s business by mistake.  He says they did not identify themselves as law enforcement but instead forced entry into the business.  Mr. Fisher says Ziggy got excited and ran outside, wanting to play.  As he turned to come back to Mr. Fisher, one of the deputies shot him.  And then shot him again.  And then shot him a third time.  Ziggy died as a result.

There is a heartbreaking video of Mr. Fisher talking about his beloved pet at the link:

“And I’m yelling ‘You shot my dog. You shot my dog.’ And the police officer says ‘You need to calm down. You can get a new dog,” Fisher said.

Mr. Fisher has an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit.

The Adams Co Sheriff’s office declined to answer questions about the case on camera but told the local news by phone that the office will investigate itself in the matter.  The officer who killed Ziggy remains on duty.  There is a background story on the officer here.

The Adams Co pound kills healthy/treatable pets according to the Maddie’s Fund stats posted on its website.  Citizens with an after hours AC emergency are directed to call the Sheriff’s office.  Whether it’s during regular hours or after hours, there appears to be an ongoing emergency in Adams Co – the government doesn’t value the lives of pets.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Las Vegas Police Kill Family Pet in Fenced Yard

Bubba the 120 pound family dog was in his backyard, which is secured with a 6 foot fence with a “Beware of Dog” sign fastened to it, when a Las Vegas police officer shot him to death on Sunday.  Police were reportedly “investigating a report of gunshots or fireworks” in the area when they opened the gate to Bubba’s yard and entered the private property.  Bubba’s family was home but owner Victor Patino says that police never knocked on their door to request the dog be secured.

The identity of the officer who fatally shot the pit bull also was not released.

But Lt. Les Lane appears to have already cleared the officer of any wrongdoing:

“The dog was aggressive and coming toward the officer,” Lane said.

The article contains no word on any further investigation of the killing.  Mr. Patino considered Bubba a family member.

(Thank Karen for the link.)

Police Shoot Dog Restrained on a Chokepole

An ACO and 2 police officers responded to a loose dog complaint in Commerce City, CO on Saturday.  The caller, Kenny Collins, did not report that the dog was aggressive, simply that she was running loose in the street:

“He never came at me in an aggressive manner,” Collins said.

He said he never feared the dog, but just wanted animal control to pick it up since it was loose.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Collins, the dog, called Chloe, was being cared for by a neighbor who left her in the garage while she went out shopping.  Chloe apparently triggered the sensor on the garage door opener and escaped.  When the ACO and police arrived, Chloe ran back inside the garage, apparently trying to get away from the strangers.  Police officers tazed 3 year old Chloe multiple times and shot at her once and eventually Chloe attempted to leave the garage.  As she walked out of the garage, the ACO caught her in a chokepole.  While the ACO held Chloe in the metal noose on the steel pole, a police officer shot the dog 4 times, killing her.

Mr. Collins’ son filmed the killing on his cell phone.  I have not watched the video but a local news reporter asked Alicia Hall, an animal behavior technician with the Dumb Friends League, to view and comment on it:

“The animal could still potentially be a danger, but if the catch pole is being used appropriately, the animal should be restrained safely. As far as I can see from the video, it looks like the dog actually walked right into the catch pole as it was coming out of the garage and was safely restrained,” Hall said.

Commerce City Police Detective Mike Saunders has a different opinion:

“Yes, the dog was on the catch pole. But, it was the officer’s concern that the animal control agent wasn’t able to maintain control of the animal and the fear was that the animal was going to come off the catch pole and attack the officers or get loose and run back into the neighborhood putting citizens in danger,” Saunders said.

The male officer apparently thought the female ACO was incapable of doing her job and restraining a non-aggressive dog whose neck was in a metal noose on the end of a steel pole while walking from the garage to the ACO truck.  He was concerned citizens might be in danger.  It seems to me that citizens were not in danger until police arrived and began firing in a neighborhood with children present.  One stray bullet hit the AC vehicle.

As usual, police will police themselves on the matter:

Saunders says Commerce City police are now reviewing the video.

“We need time to look at the video. We need time to look over the officer’s report. And we need time to speak to the officer before we can comment,” Saunders said.

Saunders said if there is any wrongdoing, the department will say so.

If you choose to watch the video at the link, please share your impressions.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

The Law Enforcement Wing of the “No One Wants to Kill Animals” Myth

Police officers are paid with tax dollars to protect and to serve.  They are held up as role models for children and supposed to lead by example as law abiding citizens.  In many areas, law enforcement is in charge of animal control.  Two troubling stories from this summer appear to show officers acting in a violent and cruel manner to kill pets who did not represent a threat.  These are but two of many such stories – too many.  No one has been charged in connection with either killing at the time of this post.

***

The War on Drugs Claims Another Victim:  On July 9, members of the Garland, TX police department and SWAT team executed a no-knock warrant at a home where 3 people were watching television while an elderly mixed breed dog snoozed on the floor.  Law enforcement officials reportedly busted down the door and shot the dog where he lay on the floor.  The raid netted less than one ounce of marijuana.  There is a comment below the story from someone posting as “jessicadpaxton”. The commenter claims to have been present in the home during the raid and that the dog did not die immediately after being shot. (Warning: Details may be too disturbing for sensitive readers.)  The department is conducting the standard internal investigation which takes place whenever a firearm is discharged.

***

Injured Dog Tortured to Death by Police:  Around 3 am on August 19, a Flagstaff, AZ police officer hit a dog who reportedly ran in front of his patrol car.  The dog appeared to be seriously injured and the officer called his supervisor, Cpl. John Tewes, who went to the scene.  Department policy dictates that a “mortally wounded” animal may be shot to relieve suffering at the discretion of the officer.  The city has an ACO, an emergency vet clinic and a shelter willing to send staff out at any time to assist police in such circumstances.  The shelter director says “that police dispatchers call the shelter regularly with reports of late-night injured animals.”  Despite all these available options, Cpl. Tewes reportedly “bludgeoned, stomped and strangled” the injured dog over a prolonged period of time until the pet finally died.  Cpl. Tewes’ attorney “said his client was not aware at the time of alternatives other than killing the animal in the field himself” and chose not to shoot the dog because it was a residential area.

If you click through to read the full story, be warned that the gruesome details of this dog’s killing are provided.  One of the non-violent details of the story which is nonetheless disturbing:

A neighbor told the Daily Sun her husband came out while the officers were standing with the injured animal and told police where the dog lived. The officers told the witness he should go back into his home.

The Navajo County Attorney must determine whether cruelty charges are warranted in the case.  Apparently, it’s something the attorney needs time to mull over.

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