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.)
February 1, 2013
(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.
Chief of Police: Myron Dyck, (559) 891-2228 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Shelter Contact Person: Sgt. Terry Reid, (559) 891-2281 or (559) 896-2525 or e-mail email@example.com
Selma Police Department: Mailing address is 1935 E. Front Street, Selma CA, 93662, Fax 559-896-8839
February 1, 2013
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.
January 17, 2013
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.)
January 7, 2013
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.)
November 26, 2012
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.)
September 15, 2012
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.
June 15, 2012
A 13 year old girl was left at home in Glendora, CA with her brothers, ages 10 and 1, and two dogs, described as Pitbulls. Neighbors called police this week when they heard the girl screaming in the middle of the night. She had apparently been bitten by one of the dogs.
When police entered the home, the dogs approached them and an officer shot one of the dogs in the head. The injured dog fled and the officer chased him in his police vehicle, running him over then standing by the dog’s body as he eventually died.
The article states:
Monrovia Animal Control provided the aid to Glendora Police as part of a mutual aid service call, police said, when no other agency was available in time.
It is unclear to me from the story what aid the ACOs provided here. Certainly a trained animal handler’s skills could have been used in this situation. Or at least someone whose dog handling techniques rise above “shoot in head, run over with car”.
It is unknown which dog actually bit the girl. Her injuries were not life threatening.
(Thank you again to Clarice for the link. You’ve been on a roll this week.)
Last week, Cumberland Co Sheriff’s Deputy Barbara Siau came to a home looking for the brother of Ms. Dana Anderson. When Ms. Anderson went outside to speak with the deputy, one of her dogs, a Pekingese/Dachshund mix called Gizmo, followed her. Gizmo began running towards the stranger and barking. The owner told the deputy the dog did not bite but the deputy kicked Gizmo in the head and then shot him to death without warning:
Gizmo still was moving, Anderson said, but fell on the ground.
“It didn’t really dawn on me until I walked over to him and saw blood coming out of his head,” Anderson said.
“He was wagging his tail as he was dying.”
The Internal Affairs department is investigating the killing, which seems entirely unwarranted from the description in the article:
Siau then showed Anderson the leg of her uniform pants, which had two small holes in them.
“They looked like if you get snagged on something,” Anderson said.
However, she said that when other deputies arrived, they would not let her take pictures of Siau’s pants and made her wait two hours before she could take Gizmo and bury him.
Anderson said she was told that there were no marks of any kind on Siau’s leg.
Presumably the officer believed the dog presented an imminent threat to her safety. I wonder if she considered any options other than shooting – such as asking the owner to remove the dog, returning to her vehicle, or utilizing non-lethal force to protect herself – before she killed the dog.
Gizmo was an abandoned puppy when Ms. Anderson rescued him 5 years ago. He was the constant companion of Ms. Anderson’s other dog, Prada. She had to have her cat, suffering from feline leukemia, euthanized the week before Gizmo’s killing. She is considering legal action.
Police officers must often approach private property as part of their job. Many people own dogs. It is normal for a dog to bark and charge toward a stranger. There should be adequate training, protocols and penalties in place for police officers that these brutal killings don’t warrant an entire blog category all their own.
In Thomasville NC, police officers are charged with handling animal control duties on weekends. Last year on Thanksgiving weekend, Thomasville police officer Lee Patton and Cpl. Jeff McCrary responded to a call about an aggressive dog at large. Officer Patton reportedly shot the dog in the face and shoulder after the dog “charged” him. The wounded dog ran away but was later located on a nearby street. Several residents gathered at the scene of the shooting. In order to protect these residents, the officers loaded up the wounded dog, drove him to the Davidson Co Animal Shelter – operated by the Davidson Co sheriff’s office – stuffed him in the gas chamber and flipped the switch.
Several questions arise:
- Was lethal force the only option available to the officers when the loose dog “charged”? Could a catch pole, tranquilizer or non-lethal weapon have been utilized instead?
- After the wounded dog ran away and was found nearby, was he still a threat to the residents who had gathered at the scene of the shooting? Would that threat have been eliminated simply by removing the dog from the scene and bringing him to a vet clinic or shelter for care?
- Did the officers scan the dog for a microchip, examine him for ID tags and tattoos, check lost dog reports, post the dog online or make any effort whatsoever to locate the dog’s owner before gassing him?
- Did the officers complete the appropriate records in conjunction with the dog’s killing? Did they verify death using a method prescribed by state law after the gassing cycle was complete? Did they clean the gas chamber and dispose of the dog’s carcass in accordance with state law?
NC state law dictates that only a “certified euthanasia technician” may kill pets at a shelter and prohibits the gassing of pets who are “near death”. Neither officer in this case is a certified euthanasia technician. It is unknown if the dog was near death at the time of gassing but having been shot in the face and been rendered unable to flee more than a block away, it’s certainly a relevant question to my mind.
Shelley Swaim, a state animal welfare technician and Lee Hunter, a veterinarian and the director of the N.C. Veterinary Division’s animal welfare division, investigated the killing. [Note to readers: Sit down. Hold on to something solid. Remember to breathe.]
[T]he officers didn’t technically violate the code because they are not shelter employees and are not covered by it, Hunter said.
As of a December 27, 2011 letter written by Thomasville Police Chief Jeff Insley, officers are now prohibited from using the gas chamber at the pound. And:
[T]he two officers who euthanized the dog were counseled about using the shelter’s equipment, including its gas chamber.
So there ya go. Honestly, the determination that NC state law doesn’t apply to the actions of these officers at the pound because they are not employed by the pound makes the Chewbacca Defense seem well-reasoned and logical. I fear this finding could be interpreted as an open call to wannabe pet killers to stroll on into any NC pet gassing facility and fulfill their heart’s desire since they too can likely avoid prosecution by claiming they don’t work for the pound. Assuming they can face the “counseling”, of course.