Sharon McGein’s 18 month old Lab called Axel allegedly ran after a 17 year old boy exiting a school bus in Charles City Co, VA last week. A neighbor shooed Axel home to the family farm. The teen’s mother called AC and an ACO responded, taking the teen with him to the farm to identify Axel, opening a closed gate along the way:
[ACO Franklin] Bates claimed he shot Axel because Axel charged at him. But, McGein said Axel was provoked.
“He told my daughter he stomped at the dog, and the dog went back 10-foot, turned around and barked at him,” McGein said.
ACO Bates shot Axel in the face then apparently felt the dog was still an imminent threat so shot him in the face again. Apparently the ACO still believed Axel posed an imminent danger and shot him in the face a third time. He left without leaving a note for the owners and took Axel’s body to the county freezer.
ACO Bates contacted the McGein family the next day to advise them their pet had been killed. The family requested Axel’s collar and tags be returned. They were not on Axel’s body and the collar was in fact broken, laying inside the ACO’s truck.
Axel’s family attempted to file animal cruelty charges with the magistrate but was denied. The magistrate said the ACO was acting in an official capacity when he shot Axel the first time, the second time and the third time.
Charles City County Sheriff’s Captain Jayson Crawley wrote McGein’s daughter about the incident with Bates. Crawley said he wrote the email — not as a county employee — but as a private citizen.
“I am tired of seeing the unprofessional and lack of supervision in which he [Bates] has shown ever since I have known him,” Crawley wrote in the email to McGein.
The McGein family has set up a Facebook page in Axel’s memory and is asking for other county residents who have had dealings with ACO Bates to contact them. (Note: Some of the material in this post was sourced from the family’s postings on this Facebook page.)
Thank you Clarice for alerting me to this story.