MO Police Chief Shoots Caged Pet


Chase, as pictured on Facebook.

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.

Spencer said the day Chase got out of his yard, someone had called 911 to report a dog charging at residents. He described the dog as aggressive, a claim the owner disputes:

“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.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Ontario Police Oops-Torture Pet, Meant to Torture Wild Animal

Merrick, as pictured on the CTV News website.

Merrick, as pictured on the CTV News website.

Residents in an Ontario neighborhood contacted police about a coyote roaming the area Monday night.  Ontario police sent a car in response and an animal approached the car:

“It just kept hanging around and it wasn’t afraid of the vehicle at all, of anything. It was just lurking around looking at the vehicle,” resident Kelly O’Neill told CTV Barrie on Tuesday. “It wasn’t afraid at all.”

Instead of capturing the animal, O’Neill said the police cruiser ran over it several times. One of the officers then got out of the car and shot it.

On Wednesday morning, OPP confirmed the animal was a dog, not a coyote.

Oops. I guess that’s why she wasn’t afraid. The 21 year old dog, called Merrick, was blind, deaf and suffered from dementia according to the owner. After a windstorm blew open a gate in Merrick’s yard, she wandered out. When she saw the police cruiser, she apparently ambled toward it before she was violently tortured to death.

The killing was caught on a cellphone video which was spread on social media. It caused a public outcry which resulted in the police having to admit that the animal was a pet dog, not a coyote.


The police commander wants to remind everyone that Merrick looked like a coyote. And as far as the standard police response to a report of a roaming coyote being Brutalize First, ID Later, that’s still fly:

The OPP “remain committed to destruction of wildlife that is an imminent threat to public safety,” the statement said.

To be clear, the “destruction” the Ontario police is committed to involves slow and deliberate cruelty to animals. Which sounds so crimey. Especially when it’s based on what the victim looks like. In the dark. From inside the car.

The historically awful Ontario SPCA has received requests from the public to investigate but has declined to lift a finger.  Police will investigate themselves in the matter.

(Thanks Jan for the link.)

Lost, Microchipped Pets – Emphasis on LOST

In theory, microchipping your pet is an excellent way to help get him back home should he ever get lost.  In reality, microchips are useless if the organization taking in lost pets doesn’t scan for them or contact the registered owner (and the alternate contacts, if necessary).  There have been a spate of stories recently involving microchipped lost pets being found and the owner not being contacted.

A Pennsylvania family who left their microchipped German shepherd Sophie with a relative while they went on vacation this month only found out she had gotten lost on July 4th after they returned home on the 13th.  They immediately called the HS of Westmoreland Co and learned their pet had been impounded on July 6 and adopted to a new owner six days later.  The HS says it tried to reach the registered owner (whom the family obtained the dog from) listed on Sophie’s microchip but the voicemail at that number was not set up.  After the 48 hour holding period elapsed, they offered the dog for adoption.  The original owner disputes the shelter’s claim about her voicemail.

Either way, if a chip’s first phone number doesn’t yield results, there are always the alternate contacts as well as registered mail and good old knocking on door.  But I guess that sounds like work.  The HS claims the adoption is legal and that the family never legally owned Sophie anyway because they hadn’t licensed her.  So stuff it, basically.


In Sonoma Co, CA, a lawsuit has been filed by the original owner of a 10 year old tuxedo cat who was microchipped at the time he went missing several years ago.  The current owner, who says she bought the cat 5 years ago from a rescuer she met through her veterinarian, only found out the cat was chipped last year when she took him to a new vet who scanned him.  She attempted to register the chip in her own name, prompting the chip company to contact the original owner.  The original owner says she bottle fed the kitten from birth, searched for him extensively when he got lost and still wants him back.  The current owner loves him too and doesn’t want to give him up.

Had either the rescuer or the first vet scanned the cat at the time he was found, he could have been returned to the original owner.  Now two people are heartbroken over the matter and a cat is caught in the middle.


The city of Alton, IL recently eliminated funding for its ACO position, turning those duties over to police.  This week, Alton police responded to a call about an injured dog in a store parking lot.  The 15 year old dog, called Buster, had wandered away from home and apparently hurt his rear leg.  His owner had filed a missing pet report with the police department including a description of Buster and his microchip information.

A witness says she saw police coax him into their car with bologna.  State law requires the officers to take the dog to a vet’s office to be scanned for a microchip.  Once the chip’s information had been read, the owner could have been contacted.  Instead, the officers reportedly drove the dog to the AC facility where one shot him twice with a .12 gauge shotgun and the other put two bullets from his .40 caliber Glock 23 into the pet.  After Buster was dead, a chip scan provided his owner’s information and the owner was notified of his pet’s killing.  Oh and the police love animals:

“We know what our protocol has been up to this point,” said Emily Hejna, public information officer for the Alton Police Department. “We were presented yesterday with some law saying something that might contradict what what we have been using as practice.”

Rather than task the police department with figuring out how to work compliance with some law into their protocol, the city voted to reinstate the ACO.  Hopefully the ACO has – and uses – a chip scanner.  While animals are still alive.


(Thanks to everyone who sent me links for this post.)

San Diego Police Officer at Wrong House Pets Friendly Dog, Watches Partner Shoot Him Seconds Later

Burberry celebrating his 5th birthday with his person and some bacon, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.

Burberry celebrating his 5th birthday with his person and some bacon, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.

Two San Diego police officers responding to a domestic disturbance call at 5am Sunday reportedly knocked on the door of the wrong house.  Resident Ian Anderson was awakened by the knocking as was his 6 year old service dog who began barking.  The dog, called Burberry, can be seen on surveillance video approaching the first officer who pets him in greeting.  Burberry then exuberantly approaches the second officer who was reportedly screaming at the dog for reasons unknown.  The second officer pulls out his gun and, out of camera view, shoots Burberry in the head, killing him while his owner watches in horror.

Burberry cuddling with a friend, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.

Burberry cuddling with a friend, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.

Mr. Anderson is devastated:

Anderson is heartbroken at losing the dog he says has helped children with Down Syndrome as well as helping him get through his own anxiety-ridden time dealing with his father’s death.

“They’re there to put their heads on your lap and you know everything is going to be okay. There’s just no way to explain the bond,” he said.

“He was the best dog in the entire world,” Anderson said through tears. “I would do anything to have him back right now. Absolutely anything.”

The San Diego police department is investigating itself in the matter and refusing to comment.

Burberry’s killing appears to be yet another case of police officers having one tool in the toolbox for dealing with dogs, whose body language and behavior as domesticated pets is apparently something alien.  Since so many people who pay police to protect them have dogs, officers should at least have a basic understanding of canine behavior as well as training in non-lethal restraint methods for use when appropriate.  The San Diego PD needs to do better than relying solely on the Scream and Shoot tactical response when encountering pets.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Fort Worth Grand Jury No-Bills Police Officer Who Hunted Down and Killed Lost Pet

Bentley, as pictured on the Star-Telegram website.

Bentley, as pictured on the Star-Telegram website.

Remember when a freak with a gun Fort Worth deputy police chief Kenneth Flynn was charged with animal cruelty after chasing down an owned, lost dog called Bentley with his SUV and shooting him in the street?  A grand jury failed to indict Flynn, who retired after the killing:

Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, a dog or coyote that has recently attacked a domestic animal may be killed by any person witnessing the attack or by the attacked animal’s owner if that owner had knowledge of the attack.

Welcome to Vagueville, home of gun nuts and regular people trying to live with their pets – and never the twain shall meet.

But yeah, that “knowledge of the attack” thing? A bit sketchy:

Flynn initially denied any involvement but later admitted to investigators that he shot at the dog with his city-issued .45-caliber Glock 30 after learning in a phone call from his sobbing wife that their cat was dead and being told by a neighbor that a German shepherd had been standing over the dead cat.

Denied any involvement. A hallmark of justified police actions – because when you know what you did is righteous, lie. And apparently no one saw any animal kill the cat. But a neighbor saw a German shepherd checking out the dead cat – a normal response from any dog – and she told someone who told someone who had a Glock. The perfect beginning to any story.

The Fort Worth police department meanwhile continues to investigate itself in the matter of the three responding officers who failed to file any report on the shooting. That too is more than a little dodgy:

When questioned by the officer, Flynn identified himself as a deputy chief with the department. Asked if he had shot at any dogs, Flynn “said he was not involved,” the affidavit states.

Two of the officers visually inspected Flynn’s city-issued SUV while the third officer chatted with Flynn and asked if the officers needed to “look further.”

“No, you’re good. You don’t need to keep looking,” Flynn responded, the affidavit states.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. No need to file a report.  But I’m sure the Fort Worth PD is doing a bang-up job on the investigation.

Flynn’s lawyer applauds the no-bill from the grand jury but laments that his client decided to retire a few months earlier than originally planned due to his arrest – which the lawyer says was all just a bunch of political BS.  Right.  Because seeking a grand jury indictment on police officers when it’s obvious they’re going to get no-billed is totally the hottest thing right now.  Every politician wants one.  If nothing else, for the good will and feeling of trust it engenders within the community.

I hope Flynn takes up some other hobbies in retirement besides playing the Glock version of the telephone game.

Bentley’s owner, who only wants to be identified by his first name for fear of retaliation by the public servants he pays to protect him, still mourns the loss of his pet:

Bryan said he keeps Bentley’s cremated remains in a hallway of his home.  He said the circumstances behind the dog’s death —and whether anything would happen to the former deputy chief — had weighed heavily on him.

So uh, yay – one less thing to worry about.  Thanks Fort Worth!

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

UPDATED: 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.)


UPDATE, added October 21, 2014 – The Fox affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth reports:

A city spokesperson said Monday that the Texas Rangers are being asked to conduct an investigation into the shooting, adding that the city will also be asking another outside agency to conduct a review.


In a police report regarding the incident, the officer involved said, “I raised my duty weapon to the ready position – pointed at the growling dog’s head. As soon as I lifted my pistol, the dog began coming up the hill, continuing to growl and display its teeth…I fired three shots at it.”

(Thanks Arlene 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.)

Houston Police Officer and Tow Truck Driver Abandon Elderly Dog in Traffic

Guero, as pictued on

Guero, as pictued on

In Houston, the owner of a 14 year old Chihuahua named Guero gave a friend a lift on July 13, taking the pet along for the car ride.  A Houston police officer stopped the vehicle for failing to signal a turn.  And because Houston apparently takes turn signals terrible-awful seriously, the officer decided to search the SUV.  The search turned up prescription medication belonging to the passenger.  But the officer decided to arrest both men. BECAUSE TURN SIGNAL.

The officer called for a tow truck to impound the vehicle but refused to call anyone to pick up Guero.  The owner, Mr. Garcia, pleaded to be allowed to call someone himself but the officer refused.  In Houston, animal control can be reached by calling 311 but the officer refused to make that call nor would he allow the owner to make it.  They were 2 blocks away from AC, at the side of the highway ramp.

Instead, the officer instructed the tow truck driver to leave the dog at the side of the road.  Mr. Garcia begged for Guero’s life, explaining that the pet was nearly blind from cataracts and needed medication.  The officer replied that it wasn’t his problem.

Charges against Mr. Garcia were dropped (apparently not everyone in Houston is on the same page when it comes to zero tolerance for turn signal criminals).  The family put up Lost Pet signs in the area and received a call a few days later from someone advising that a dog matching the description was at the side of the road where the officer had ordered he be abandoned.  The caller was unable to help the dog due to the heavy traffic.  The family went to the area and found their pet dead, having been hit by a car.  They wrapped Guero in a towel, took him home and buried him.

Mrs. Garcia filed a complaint with the Houston police department.  Receiving no response, she addressed the city council on July 22.  There she received a public apology from the mayor.  The police department will investigate itself in the matter, which may take 6 months.

In the meantime, I suggest the unnamed Houston police officer whose reckless disregard for the life of a member of the Garcia family and the tow truck driver who was just following orders when he abandoned the helpless pet at the side of the road ask themselves some serious questions.  Starting with What The Fucking Hell?  The tow truck company isn’t responding to the media, instead hiding behind the police department’s skirts.  And the police department is busy looking for turn signal violators apparently.

Here’s my question:  How does Houston deal with asshats who leave blind dogs in traffic?  If the police officer and tow truck driver aren’t dealt with in exactly the same manner in this case, I call shenanigans on the city of Houston.

Mrs. Garcia says her family has been torn apart by the death of Guero, who had been part of their family his entire life.  In an interview with the local ABC affiliate, she tearfully said:

I felt so much pain, like I never knew I had.

We get it Mrs. Garcia.  Pets are family.  Good on you for refusing to give up in trying to get justice for Guero.

(Thanks Lisa and Davyd.)

Baltimore Police Officer Slashes Dog’s Throat

Nala and her owner, as depicted on the CBS website.

Nala and her owner, as depicted on the website of the CBS affiliate in Baltimore.

Baltimore has problems with regard to the value placed on the lives of pets.  And that attitude extends beyond the public employees at the pound to the city police department.

On Saturday, owner Sarah Gossard let her 7 year old dog Nala outside, not realizing a gate had been left open in the yard.  Nala was wearing her ID tag when she got lost and a Good Sam tried to read the contact information on the tag but Nala was scared and nipped the woman.  Police were called to capture Nala and officers used a chokepole on her:

Robbe Reddinger, a Brewers Hill resident, said he awoke to commotion and saw officers outside his window chasing the dog around an empty lot at Grundy and Dillon streets. Eventually officers cornered the dog in an area out of Reddinger’s view.

After the dog had been cornered, Reddinger said, “I heard it yelp a few times. It was kind of a weird yelp, and then I didn’t hear anything after that. Then they dragged it. There was one cop who drug it out of the corner to where I could see it again.”

He said police dragged the dog with the control pole into the open, then shook the noose loose from around the dog’s neck. An officer stood over Nala for about a minute before walking away, Reddinger said.

Other witnesses who were closer to the scene reportedly heard Officer Jeffrey Bolger, an EMS responder, say, “I’m going to [expletive] gut this thing,” before he slit Nala’s throat with a knife.  Nala bled to death in the vacant lot.

Gossard said she doesn’t understand why police didn’t just call her to the scene. She said her phone number was included on Nala’s tags. Her dog had not bitten anyone before, she said, and was just scared.

“These people are supposed to be taking care of our community,” Gossard said, “and I’m so horrified by what they did and it’s completely unnecessary.”

The gruesome killing was not immediately reported and internal affairs investigators didn’t find out about it until Monday.  Investigators have found no evidence that Nala behaved aggressively toward Officer Bolger.  Bolger was arrested on Wednesday, charged with felony animal cruelty and malfeasance in office. He was released on his own recognizance. Because yeah, obviously. Guy’s not a threat and doesn’t have any screws loose so hey-ho, let’s give him his knives and everything will prolly be fine.

Officer Bolger has been suspended from the police force without pay.  Nala’s owner is planning to take legal action.

The police department is shocked, shocked I tell you, that they can’t think up any excuse for this killing because there were too many witnesses such violence occurred on their watch.  In a culture of apathy regarding the lives of pets where needless killing is the norm, unnecessary violence is going to happen.  It’s happening right now in the Baltimore pound where beloved pets, owned and unowned, are being killed by public employees under the guise of “euthanasia”.  This is what a culture of violence against pets looks like Baltimore.  Change it.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)


Detroit Police Shoot 3 Dogs, ACOs Drag Their Bodies Down the Street

A Detroit ACO chokepoles a dog, possibly dead, across a street.  Screengrab from

A Detroit ACO chokepoles a dog, possibly dead, across a street. Screengrab from

Detroit police in riot gear entered a home in a drug raid last week, shooting 3 dogs who were inside the home.  The police called animal control to pick up the dogs.  Detroit ACOs used chokepoles to drag the dogs, who appeared limp and bloody, across the street in front of neighborhood children.  One dog’s entrails were reportedly falling out.  ACOs then heaved the dogs, who were possibly dead, onto the truck which contained live dogs.

These are your public servants, paid by your taxes to protect your community’s pets and promote the human-animal bond.  I guess we’re not giving them enough cupcakes.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)


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