Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Doggycide in Sunnyside, Arizona [updated]

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Dog chalk outline

Show of hands: What’s the proper way of dealing with a critically injured dog that was hit by a car? Calling a vet to see if they can come and pick it up safely? A merciful, well-placed bullet? Or, if you’re one of the Flagstaff, Arizona officers in this gruesome report, perhaps something altogether more brutal:

The woman told the Daily Sun that she and her husband heard their own dogs howling at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19, and saw flashing lights outside.

Her husband went outside and saw their neighbor’s dog had been hit by a car and was sprawled out in the street. The witness said the dog couldn’t walk and was bleeding from its eyes and nose.

When the husband tried to tell the officer that the dog belonged to his neighbor and pointed to the home, he was told to go back inside.


The woman said that the officer who hit the dog waited in the street with the animal for about 10 minutes until the second officer, later confirmed as Cpl. [John] Tewes, showed up on scene.

The pair waited for another 10 to 15 minutes before the officers apparently attempted to euthanize the dog without using a firearm.

Police officials have said the officers did not want to use their firearms for public safety reasons.

The woman said she watched the supervisor extend his baton and then strike the dog in the head. She says she had to turn her head and look away, but continued to hear the thumping as the metal club impacted its skull.

“I saw him extend the baton and he raised it up and he struck the dog in the forehead,” the witness said.

“You could just hear the dog and then the dog got quiet,” she added. The dog started yelping again when the officer returned several minutes later and poked at it with the baton, she says.

More time went by and the officer placed his boot on the dog’s head and stood on it, then stomped down, apparently attempting to crush its skull.

The officer waited several more moments and then hit it with a baton, according to the witness.

“I turned my head and said, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe he just did that,” the witness said. “I don’t know what he was thinking.”

Eventually, the witness said she watched the officer grab the dog by a leg and drag it to the patrol car.

This might just be the very first incident where I wish the officers had shot first. For fuck’s sake.

Better yet, despite being told by the witnesses who the dog’s owners were, police let the worried family stew for an entire week before they were finally asked to identify the battered corpse at the local humane association. One wonders what the ongoing internal investigation will reveal if it doesn’t conclude with the habitual whitewashing.

(via Facebook: Dogs Shot by Police)

UPDATE: 09/12/12 3:35 PM ET —

An update at the Arizona Daily Sun informs us that the poor animal was a Blue Tick Heller named Blue. Additionally, the police department says that Cpl. Tewes’ actions go against their policy, which allows officers to euthanize critically injured animals with their firearm if or when necessary. On his part, Tewes claims he did what he did because he regularly kills coyotes on hunting trips by clubbing them on the head and that he didn’t know what else to do in Blue’s case (having decided that using his gun would be “too dangerous”).

None of this changes anything in the Doggycide Bingo results, below, but an identity is always useful. I’ve updated the tags accordingly.

Finally, I originally forgot to mention (thanks to Mommiest in the comments for the reminder!) how the case was originally brought to light thanks to an unnamed police supervisor whose disclosure triggered the investigations. Kudos to them, indeed.

(via Facebook: Dogs Shot by Police)

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

Doggycide Bingo Index

Confirmed hits:

  • Dead dog
  • Killing was brutally cold-blooded
  • Gratuitous use of force
  • (Half-point) Cops don’t inform the owners for a week
  • Total: 3½/25