Friday, August 31, 2012

This week in doggycide: Triple-header edition

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Perennial buzzkill Radley Balko was, erm, kind enough to pass along three new milestones in the police’s war on dogs, which I thought I’d condense into one single post rather than clutter up the blog front page with frustration.

Scar (5yo pitbull) with owner John Lara
Scar and John Lara

We begin last Sunday in Thornton, Colorado, where officers arresting a man on minor drug charges promptly shot and killed a bulldog mix they claimed was on the attack, while both the owners and neighbors tell a very different story:

A Thornton police officer shot scar once in the face.

The department says in a news release: “….a large pit bull started to run toward the officers from a nearby residence. The dog charged one of the officers and began to leap at one of the officers. To protect himself from the attack as the dog’s mouth was open while charging, the officer fired one round and struck the animal.”

“He wasn’t running, he wasn’t growling, he wasn’t barking. He was not lunging,” says a witness who saw the shooting.

But neighbors and family say the dog didn’t threaten anyone–didn’t even leave the front yard.

“He just saw that dog, didn’t even look twice, went boom,” says the witness who didn’t want to be identified.

The family was unable to save Scar despite rushing him to the vet’s (and receiving a $1,000 bill). The shooter never apologized.

(via @radleybalko)

Prada (10yo black Labrador Retriever)

Next, we go to Buffalo, New York, where a woman returned home last Saturday to find that police had barged in on a drug raid and left, leaving behind a search warrant and a trail of blood and bullet holes leading to where her black Labrador had been slain:

There was a puddle of blood on the floor and bullet holes in the door of a bedroom where Prada slept.

But it was not a burglar who broke in. Hairston found a search warrant, signed by a judge, issued to the Erie County Sheriff's Department, on her kitchen floor.

Hairston said police raided her home, searching for cocaine, connected to a man named Lance Thompson.

Hairston said she rents another home she owns to Thompson, who dates her daughter, but he does not live in her residence and she has absolutely no connection to his alleged illegal activities.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said they had probable cause to search Hairston's residence because Thompson's alleged drug activities were suspected to take place from Hairston's house on occasion. The home which she rents to Thompson was also searched.

Deputies were forced to shoot and kill Prada during the raid because he threatened them, the spokesman said.

I bet you’ll all be shocked beyond wits to learn that no drugs were found, right?

(via @radleybalko)

Photo of Diamond (small 8yo shepherd mix)

And finally, we arrive in Spartanburg County, Pennsylvania, where the most outrageous case so far (and imagine the competition for that title) happened last Monday, as a plainclothes deputy felt so threatened by a 35-pound shepherd mix that was tethered to a porch that he felt obligated to end its life:

Richard Woodruff was inside his Spartanburg, S.C. home Monday morning when he heard barking followed by a gunshot. The man rushed outside to check on his 8-year-old shepherd mix, Diamond, who had been playing out front while tethered to the porch railing.

"I ran outside and I see this guy standing over my dog holding a gun," Woodruff told Channel 7 news. "'I said, 'Why did you shoot my dog?' And his response to me was, 'Sir, she tried to bite me.' I said, 'She tried to bite you? She can't go any further to get you!'"

According to Woodruff, the dog was at the limit of her tether and could not advance any further when she was shot by plain-clothed deputy Eric Boutin. "All he had to do was take a couple of steps back and she could not have bitten him," Woodruff said in the Channel 7 interview.

Woodruff also pointed out the "Beware of Dog" sign attached to an oak tree on his lawn. The man states that the deputy parked his car in front of the sign and then walked right past it.

It gets better: Deputy Boutin was only there because he was serving child support papers … to a man who didn’t live there and who Woodruff had never even heard of. And to top it all off, the county sheriff has naturally declared that the deputy was right to shoot the tied-up little pooch because “there was a chance the tether could have slipped off”. Which, I’m sure, would at least give credible cause for a trained officer to open fire on an animal that was barely tall enough to nip at his ankles.

And besides, by that logic, shouldn’t all dogs be shot the second an officer comes within biting distance, even if they’re leashed or caged? Those could always come undone, too, you know. It’s just being safe.

(via @radleybalko)

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

Doggycide Bingo Index

Confirmed hits:

  • Star, Prada and Diamond dead
  • Star was reportedly just chilling in his yard
  • Prada was in her room; Diamond was tethered
  • Cops shot first
  • Diamond was a tiny, 35-pound shepherd mix
  • Scar’s shooter never apologized
  • Scar was reportedly shot with zero provocation
  • Deputy Boutin served papers to wrong man
  • Deputy Boutin cleared of wrongdoing
  • Scar’s and Diamond’s shooters lied about being threatened
  • Neighbors agree Scar was peaceful
  • Scar’s and Diamond’s shooters make up excuses
  • Scar’s family stuck with $1,000 vet bill (for nothing)
  • Total: 20/25 (combined)
    No bingo.