Archive for December, 2011
Wake deputy kills dog while searching for runaway teen
Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a couple’s 3-year-old dog Wednesday night while searching for a runaway teenager.
John and Linda Super say two deputies came to their home on King Circle, looking for a 15-year-old neighbor who had run away and had often spent time with them.
One of the couple’s dogs, Elvis, forced his way out the front door and ran outside as the couple talked to the deputies, they said. One of the deputies shot Elvis twice, including once in the back of the head, killing him, according to the Supers.
“All we’ve got is a dead dog and a lot of questions that need answers,” Linda Super said. “(Elvis) came running out, never bothered a soul, never opened his mouth, never woofed or nothing when he came out the door.”
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the deputy, Roderick Belfield, said the dog was barking and running towards him. Belfield will not be punished for shooting the dog.
“Nobody wants to shoot a dog, but things like this are going to happen,” Harrison said. “Please put yourself in the deputy’s position. If you had been standing there, what would you have thought when the dog comes out charging towards you?”
Harrison said he is investigating whether Belfield or the other deputy, Kenneth Edward Kay, used profanity while subduing John Super, who was upset after the shooting. John Super says the deputies were rough with him.
One of the runaway teen’s guardians said Elvis was “vicious” and had lunged for the deputy, something the Supers dispute.
“(Elvis) was my fourth child,” Linda Super said. “He was like the center of our lives.”
As for the missing teen, he was found safe and is staying with his biological mother.
In response to the story “Deputy fatally shoots dog during attack” in the Herald-Sun on Dec. 13, we want to be sure readers understand that on Dec. 9, one of our family dogs was shot in the head by a Durham County sheriff’s deputy investigating a break-in — not a break-in at our home, but at our neighbor’s home.
The officer came onto our property from the side yard and our three Jack Russells, not knowing who he was or where he came from, circled him and did what terrier dogs do to protect their territory from strangers or intruders. All three of our pets were wearing fully-functioning invisible fence collars and the driveway boundary was marked by bright orange flagging.
This horrific, senseless act of violence by investigating officer L. Kelly has devastated our family.
We agree completely that police officers should be able to enter private property in good faith to investigate suspicious activity. However, there was no such activity on our property — just our car parked in front of an open garage.
If the officer had entered the property in his patrol car, via our gravel driveway, this senseless killing would have never occurred. Our dogs hear cars approaching and greet all comers (even us) on the edge of their flagged invisible fence boundary. The officer would have passed a “no trespassing” sign and three signs indicating that there are dogs on the premises. At least three deliveries occurred earlier that day without incident.
The above is all true, but is very much irrelevant.
The officer had no right or reason to execute our little dog on our front walkway. The shell casing lay just feet from the invisible fence boundary. All he had to do was walk away. A swift kick and a couple of steps would have done the trick.
Drawing his weapon and shooting our dog in the head was a reckless and violent decision. Any notion that his life was in danger is utterly preposterous. Terriers bark and they nip at your ankles. A bite would not be a nice experience. But life threatening? Never.
This officer ought to be punished to the fullest extent.
Surely use of a weapon is not acceptable behavior for a patrol officer when faced with small dogs reacting to an intruder.
I would appreciate your support of our outrage and disbelief that this could have happened in the name of “law enforcement.”
Baubles and laptops can be replaced. Our beloved Bailey is gone forever.
Bill and Bobbie Hardaker live on Kerley Road in Durham.
Homeless Man Distraught After CHP Shoots Service Dog
By Joe Eskenazi Tue., Dec. 13 2011 at 2:00 PM
A homeless San Francisco man is struggling to go on after his beloved service dog died in a hail of gunfire fired by a California Highway Patrol officer.
It’s hard to say Steven Coffman, 42, is looking for answers. He’s too torn up to ask many questions. On the morning of Dec. 7, he left his homeless encampment beneath a freeway offramp on Selby and Evans to attend a General Assistance meeting with 2-year-old boxer mix Knucklehead in tow. Coffman says he has a note from a doctor permitting him to bring the dog just about everywhere as she helped him overcome anxiety and depression. He left that note, however, in Knucklehead’s service animal vest — which he could not find. Unable to talk his way onto public transportation, Coffman left his dog with friends back at the encampment.
What happened next isn’t entirely clear. All that’s certain is the outcome. Animal Control came and retrieved the bullet-riddled dog before he returned. All Coffman has left of her, he says, are the shell casings from the shots that killed her.
Mark Devlin, who also lives beneath the freeway, says Knucklehead and two other dogs — Charlie and Sugar — ran past him not 10 minutes after Coffman departed. Blocked by a concrete pillar, Devlin didn’t see what happened next. But he could hear it.
“Without any kind of warning, there were shots. I was shocked and yelled ‘No, no, no!’” The dogs ran back toward Devlin. “Sugar and Knucklehead were kind of tangled up and tumbling. I thought they were both shot. Charlie ran past them. Sugar and Knucklehead both fell, but Sugar got up. Knucklehead laid down and died.”
Devlin said many police and CHP cars and personnel were in the area; after a while, he says, “people in suits” showed up and talked to the officers on the scene. “One guy was talking about some procedures when a dog is a threat and when it’s not.”
Just who pulled the trigger is not entirely certain. Animal Control says the report describing the 54-pound charging dog was left by a California Highway Patrol officer. San Francisco Police Officers at Bayview Station also said a CHP officer shot the dog. But no documentation of the Dec. 7 incident came up when we contacted the CHP. Agency spokesman Officer Tony Tam has not yet returned messages.
“There wasn’t a mean bone in that dog’s body,” Coffman said between bouts of weeping. “Now, for the life of me, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
He and others describe Knucklehead as an exceedingly jolly dog who still hadn’t outgrown her friendly puppy stage.
This is not a new experience for Coffman. In 1992, he says, cops shot dead his prior dog. That animal, however, was a Rottweiler who wasn’t entirely social. This, he says, is different.
The behavior of his dogs has changed along with his own behavior, Coffman claims. “I have an extensive criminal history so it’s hard to get a job. Because I ain’t been able to work, I used to do a lot of crime — I’d sell weed. I did a lot of time for possession and sales of marijuana. Maybe petty theft here or there.”
But not for two years, he says. Not since he was handed a seven-week-old puppy. “That dog was keeping me out of prison. She kept me out of trouble. I didn’t want to end up back in jail or prison where I couldn’t take care of my dog.
“Even though my life was in the shitter, I still had her,” he says. “She was my reason, man.”
Update, 3:10 p.m.: CHP spokesman Officer Tony Tam says state troopers were accompanying Department of Public Works and Caltrans employees on Dec. 7 on a survey of the area when “three dogs approached the group in an aggressive manner.” The officer, Tam says, “tried to get them away, but they wouldn’t obey his commands. He felt they threatened his safety as well as that of the civilians.”
The officer fired three shots and all three dogs ran away. “One of the civilians said if [the CHP officer] hadn’t acted, they’d have probably been attacked,” says Tam. “We’ll never know.”
Officer Kills Dog as Kids Watched, Owner Says
Updated: Wednesday, 12 Oct 2011, 9:34 AM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 11 Oct 2011, 6:10 PM CDT
Adapted for Web by Tracy DeLatte | myFOXdfw.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – A dog owner claims an Arlington police officer overreacted and shot his dog five times as his children watched.
Buck Yandle said two police officers and an animal control officer showed up at his home on Lake Jackson Drive last week. They were there about his dog Bucky, a basset hound and Rottweiler mix.
Neighbors said Bucky nipped a boy in the back after school. The dog never bit him, but it was enough to scare the 10-year-old.
Yandle stepped outside to meet with the officers. He said he closed the door and left his four children inside the house with Bucky. But the dog ran out because his 3-year-old son opened the door.
Bucky got agitated as police were talking to Yandle. Although he insists the dog did not lunge at or attack any of the officers, one of the officers shot and killed him.
“He’s barking and dancing around,” he said. “He shot pop, pop. The dog was down then pop, pop, pop. I said, ‘Man, you just shot my dog.’ And he said, ‘You [expletive] idiot. You let your dog out.’”
Yandle said the shooting happened with his toddler nearby. The rest of his children were watching from their living room window.
His wife, who had been running errands at the time, raced home when she heard what happened.
“I don’t understand why he did it. I don’t understand why he shot my dog five times in front of my children,” said Natalie Yandle.
Arlington police would not comment on the case. The officer’s use of deadly force is under investigation by internal affairs, but that is routine.