Sunday, February 05, 2012

Attempted doggycide in Radford, VA

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Joseph DeMasi (18) with recovering Copper the pointer terrier
Joseph Demasi and Copper

Kudos to nameless officer for teaching this college student a lesson about letting his pointer terrier off its leash that he won’t soon forget:

The sound of his 70-pound pointer terrier's tail anxiously beating against its cage in the veterinarian's office was a welcome sound for Joseph DeMasi on Friday.

The dog, Copper, had been shot by a police officer in Radford's Bisset Park a day earlier during a response to a call about two dogs not on leashes.

Radford Police Chief Don Goodman said that based on the report, the use of the gun was for the officer's safety. The dog was shot Thursday afternoon, when an officer was called to the park at 3:25 p.m., he said.

Accounts of the story differ after that point.

DeMasi, an 18-year-old Radford University student, said he and a friend were in a secluded area of Bisset Park down a slope, allowing their dogs to play by the riverbank.

He said Copper saw the officer, who'd approached from above, and ran over to greet him. DeMasi said the officer yelled for him to get his dog. But before DeMasi had the chance to make a move, he said, the officer shot Copper in the leg without further warning.

Goodman said the officer, whose name wasn't made available Friday, was charged by the dog as he got out of his vehicle. The officer repeatedly urged the owners to call off their dogs, Goodman said. The dogs continued at the officer in an "aggressive manner," Goodman said, so the officer drew his .45-caliber pistol and shot the dog in the right front leg.


His biggest complaints centered on what he saw to be excessive use of force and a lack of compassion, DeMasi said.

The officer had other visible weapons, such as pepper spray and a Taser, which should have been considered before the use of a firearm, he said. Further, DeMasi said, someone trained in animal control should have been dispatched instead of a police officer.


Any incident involving use of force is internally reviewed, to make sure policy was followed, Goodman said. No administrative action has been taken against the officer, and outside of the review, the incident, for all intents and purposes, is over, he said.


DeMasi said his vet bill so far is $500 and his ticket cost him $150.

Amusingly, Police Chief Goodman took the time to explain why non-lethal weapons would not have been applicable to this situation. Because the only sensible way to deal with dogs is with gunfire, not batons or mace. My, we’re learning all sorts of important lessons today.

Doggycide Bingo card
[full size (514×625)]

Doggycide Bingo Index

Confirmed hits:

  • Attempted doggycide/injured dog
  • Firearm as first reaction
  • Playfulness mistaken for aggression
  • No apology
  • No disciplinary action against shooter
  • Whitewashed investigation
  • Cops & owner disagree
  • Official makes excuses
  • Owner stuck with vet bill
  • Total: 9/25
    Fairly typical. No bingo.

    (via The Agitator)