Police Puppycide

Published On August 13, 2010 | By Paula Parmeley Carter | Articles

Co-authored with Dr. Q

While there are plenty of pet-lovers who like to think of dogs as “man’s best friend,” many police officers seem to have a different opinion on the matter. As one police officer put it back in 2008, “It’s just a dog. You can buy another one.” The officer made this comment while detaining a motorist who was trying to drive his choking dog to an emergency clinic. The dog died while the officer berated the man, accused him of being on drugs, and asked him if he “want[ed] to go to jail.”

Unfortunately, denying medical care to dogs isn’t enough for some police officers. Many prefer a more… active approach the ending the lives of other peoples’ furry companions.

While Cop Block has been active, we’ve covered several stories in which police have attacked and/or killed dogs. Back in April, we linked to a story about two teens who were injured by bullet fragments after a trigger-happy cop shot their dog. Adam called a Missouri police department back in May after a video was released of their SWAT team killing two dogs (one of which was apparently caged) while conducting one of their ultra-violent no-knock drug raids. In June, we discussed a story about another dog killed in a drug raid. We also started a call flood after a video was released of two Missouri officers slaughtering a dog for no apparent reason.

But the number of puppycide stories in the news that we’ve heard about in just in the last month is shocking.

Here’s a handful.

In February a police officer in Commerce City, Colorado was responding to an accidental 911 hang up call when she walked into a families’ fenced in front yard and brutally murdered their beloved 35lb dog, Zoey while the family looked on. The grieving family has filed suit against the city.

The officer, Suzanne Barber, was in possession of pepper spray but chose to use her firearm because she stated that she “felt her life was in danger”.

In July, Mendocino California’s Major Crimes Task Force and a Willits California police officer murdered an 8-year-old family dog named Tonka. They were serving a search warrant, but the search turned up nothing.

According to resident Anna White, Tonka’s owner, the police shot her pet while it was in a fenced area on her front porch. “We found the shell casing outside by the fence area. Tonka then ran into our house, got onto my bed and died.”

White described her bedroom following the search, claiming Tonka’s body had been dumped from the bed onto the floor and items from her room dropped onto the body and into the dog’s blood. “They destroyed our house and found nothing,” says White. “Tonka lived long enough to die on my bed, which we shared each night.”

The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force Commander, Bob Nishiyama, claims that “the dog charged down the stairs, barking and snarling at the officer, who fired in self-defense.”

Also in July, an officer in Riverdale, Georgia shot and killed Stacy Clark’s dog while aggressively responding to a false alarm from a home security company. This officer also had the option of using pepper spray but chose not to because he “didn’t have enough time to grab” it.

Police officers said they thought there was a holdup at the house. When they arrived, Clark’s dog, Jadore, came running out and one officer didn’t have enough time to grab his pepper spray, police said. He reached for his weapon instead, police said.

Clark said Officers asked everyone in the house to step outside, and three of them were ordered to the ground and handcuffed. Police removed the handcuffs after verifying their identities.

That’s when Clark noticed Jadore wasn’t moving, he said. When Clark asked what happened, he said he was told, “I shot it. Just point blank, I shot it.”

In the first week of August, an off duty federal officer in Maryland shot and killed a Husky in an off-leash dog park while he was walking his German Shepard with his wife.

Stunned dog owners and residents of a Severn neighborhood are shocked that authorities won’t be charging a federal police officer who shot and killed a Siberian Husky Monday night at a community dog park.

Bear-Bear, a brown and white Husky that’s about three years old, was playing in the Quail Run dog park at about 6:30 p.m., running off leash inside the fenced-in area, when the officer and his wife arrived with a German Shepherd, who was kept on a leash. When the dogs began to play roughly — the federal officer asked Bear-Bear’s guardian, his owner’s brother, to call off the dog. But before he could do anything, the officer pulled out a gun and shot Bear-Bear.

Bear-Bear, who belongs to Rachel Rettaliata, died of his injuries a few hours later.

Initially the police had no intentions of filing charges against the federal officer, but after an outpouring of community outrage, the case has been reopened, even though the police still refuse to release the name of the officer who fired the shot.

And finally, again in Maryland, sheriff deputies from Prince George’s county shot a family dog, Cato, while serving an eviction notice.

In two of the above cases, the police had no business being on the dog owners’ property. In the first instance they were clearly uninvited and in the second they were there with the approval of a man in a robe to look for plants that legislators have deemed forbidden. The dogs were not the aggressors, they were serving their owners by protecting their property from intruders. They are heroes. They were doing what the police purport to do, but actually do very little of: protecting life and property.

In all of the above cases the officers responded to fear with brutal, lethal violence. If we are going to allow a group of people to pin pieces of metal to their chests and strut around demanding that we “respect their authority” all while they are heavily armed, shouldn’t we expect them the be able to respond to even legitimate fear without always resorting to the most violent and lethal response possible?

Is officer training so inadequate that they are incapable of a using a non-lethal response when encountered by a big, scary dog? When I was an avid runner, I encountered big, scary dogs on a regular basis. At one time I read an article in a running magazine about how to deal with such encounters. The advice in this article worked every time and in years of running I only had to resort to physical force one time.  If I can learn how to deal with dogs by reading one small article in a magazine, surely the police that be trained to do the same.

Studies have shown that sociopaths and bullies are likely to have abused animals during their childhood and often continue to do so into adulthood. Are these officers who murdered these beautiful animals sociopaths or just cowards? We can’t be sure, but either way they are unfit to be police.

Update by Dr. Q: Police have released the name of officer who shot Bear-Bear and prosecutors have charged him with two misdemeanors. The officer, Keith Shepherd, has been charged with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within 100 yards of an occupied home. See here for details.

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About The Author

Paula is a Staff Writer at CopBlock. She advocates ending the monopoly on policing and protection services. When not writing at CopBlock she enjoys being a wife and mother, reading and drinking good beer.
  • phssthpok

    Question:
    If one were to defend oneself against an attack by a ‘police dog’, one faces charges of ‘assaulting an officer’…’Capital Murder’ if you actually kill the dog. Cops treat THEIR dogs as if they were humans officer on the force.

    Why then do officers not face similar charges when they jump right to killing furry family members of the general public without at least TRYING less violent alternatives? Do you think they’d get such an easy pass if their first reaction to a HUMAN yelling “get off my lawn!” was to just pop a cap in their ass? Then again…maybe they would.

  • http://tjic.com TJIC

    If a cop shoots my dog, he’d better get me with the next shot, because if he doesn’t, he’s going to be dead within a few minutes.

  • Jenn

    What a disgrace! They are so trigger happy and utterly insane. It’s gross.

  • ORALIA

    MOST COPS ARE SOME OF THE MOST DISGUSTING INDIVIDUALS ON THE PLANET. I COULDN’T EVEN BEAR TO WATCH THE VIDEOS AND JUST SKIMMED OVER THE ARTICLE!!! IT IS DISGUSTING TO SEE WHAT COWARDS THESE BADGED “THUGS” ARE AND SHOOT DOGS W/EASE! OF COURSE, THEY DO THE SAME TO HUMANS AND THIS SHOULDN’T SURPRISE US!

    THESE INDIVIDUALS — AND I’M STRETCHING IT HERE — SHOULD BE ALL FIRED AND MADE TO WORK AT A RESCUE CENTER FOR ANIMALS AND LEARN TO RESPECT ANIMALS — THAT SHOULD HOPEFULLY TEACH THEM RESPECT FOR HUMANS!

    THE FACT THAT THESE BADGED THUGS SHOOT ANIMALS THE WAY THEY DO IS PROOF THAT THEY ALSO ABUSE PEOPLE — THE SAME RULE ABOUT ABUSING ANIMALS LEADING TO ABUSING PEOPLE APPLIES TO THESE BASTARDS AS WELL!

    I WOULD BE ASHAMED IF I WERE TO COMMIT AN ACT OF SHOOTING AN INNOCENT ANIMAL!

  • Lauren

    This article really struck a nerve with me. I can’tbelieve they are so unfit that they grab their gun and shoot at the first moment of fear! I delivered pizza for three years and encountered plenty of “scary” dogs! This is just absolutely atrocious. thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Abuse-Is-Not-Protection/131451616894365?v=wall Donnie Cole

    plan and simple they shoot my dog, it’s their ass i’m not smart enough to be scared of guns, tazers or cops. and as that mayor said ‘how many isolated incidences will there be before it is seen as a padearn of abuse. for me it only takes one and I’m done

  • http://nothugcops.com Frank Serpico

    dicless robots. Can ONLY perform with an audience of their *manly* peers.
    http://nothugcops.com

  • LRW

    It’s only a car too, and I can buy another one. Yet, when someone steals it or vandalizes it, they face charges. A car is a form of transportion; it’s an object. I’m not as emotionally attached to my car as I am my dog. Anyone who can be so cruel and unfeeling has never known the love and the undying devotion of a dog, and that’s a shame…they’re really missing out.

    Police officers have a very difficult job. They put their life on the line every day to ensure people abide by the law. Unfortunately, some of them think they are above the law and can do anything they want whenever they want. They give a bad name to those who serve and protect.

    I have been following Bear-Bear’s story, and I am glad the jerk that murdered him has been charged. Unfortunately, the charges are only misdeamors. He should also lose his gun permit, and never be allowed to carry a firearm again.

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  • ekeyra

    You hit the nail on the head about sociopaths torturing animals. Being a police officer attracts people with specific personality disorders. Helpless victims to be used as an outlet for your rage, undisputed authority, zero accountability, and a paycheck to boot, whats not to love for your average knuckledragging psychopath? Im with everyone here that if you shoot my dog you better put on in me next.

  • mike

    If a dog comes at me, teeth showing, and growling, it will get shot…..no question. Pepper spray does not work on a viscious dog. Sorry, I just refuse to get bit by a dog..would you want to get bitten?

  • Linda

    Hey Mike are you a cop??

  • Bergman

    My family has had dogs, cats, gerbils, goldfish, tadpoles, frogs, turtles, rats and one snake at various times over the years. All have been just as much family as my little sister. If someone runs up and shoots at a member of my family, odds are I won’t even have time to think before I draw my sidearm (open carry state) and defend my family. In the past I’ve jumped between a knife-wielding psycho and their victim and only realized I’d done it afterward. If someone is so sociopathic that they will shoot random animals on the street for no reason at all, they’ll shoot people too. Uniform or not, if someone shoots my dog in front of me, I’ll empty the magazine into them. Pardon the expression, but mad dogs need to be put down for the safety of everyone.

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  • daisy

    This is just the latest in the growth of government powers to do whatever it wants to do- Love your Country – Fear your Government… Destroy personal property and commit murder – need help call 911!

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