Elizabeth Womack and her family recently moved to a home in Sparta, MO. When her mixed breed dog Chase went missing on November 10, she immediately began searching for him. After getting the runaround from Sparta police chief Andrew Spencer for a week, Ms. Womack was finally given Chase’s dead body along with a story of what happened.
“The only reason our dog would charge at anybody would be to play,” says Womack, “He was just such a playful little pup. He had no aggression. He didn’t know what that was.”
With the aid of a citizen and a chokepole, Spencer reportedly lured Chase into a crate. City ordinance required Spencer to then take the dog to a veterinary facility for a 5 day holding period and to post the pet’s description at city hall so the owner could find him. Instead Spencer took Chase to a shooting range and shot the caged pet to death.
Spencer says he had contacted a shelter and was told they wouldn’t accept the dog. And that he had received another call about a rollover car wreck and needed to respond to that right away so he didn’t have time to secure housing for Chase. He only had enough time to drive to the shooting range and kill the pet before responding to the rollover accident, apparently. I’d hate to be the injured driver hanging upside down by my seat belt, waiting on Spencer to get finished playing Big Man Shoot Dog in Box.
Ms. Womack says that she should have been contacted via Chase’s microchip information. You know microchips, the things municipal employees always wave in our faces every time they kill an owned pet who didn’t have one. If only you would have microchipped your animal, everything would be ok.
After much public outcry, Spencer, who has been in law enforcement only three years, was placed on paid leave a few hours prior to the Sparta Board of Aldermen meeting on November 24 where a large crowd was expected.
Ms. Womack and approximately 100 supporters attended the city meeting seeking justice. Sparta has a pitbull ban in place and the subject of discrimination based on body shape came up at the meeting:
State Rep. Lynn Morris also attended the meeting, saying that he thinks there is an issue of profiling animals, in this case, a pit bull.
“A person who could be mean or kill an animal doesn’t need to be a person who takes care of people,” Morris said, which was followed by applause. “People that are cruel to animals are cruel to people.”
Speakers at the meeting asked for charges against Spencer and sought changes to prevent this from happening to another family. I hope the city replaces the breed ban with a sensible ordinance based upon a dog’s actions – not how fat his head might be. Good for Ms. Womack and local residents for standing up and making their voices heard.