Pet owner waiting for answers in fatal dog shooting
Tue, 11/20/2012 – 2:22pm | Mary Schenk
CHAMPAIGN — Kathy Saathoff is most anxious to find out why a Champaign police officer felt the need to break up a dog fight Saturday with a gun.
Police Chief Anthony Cobb said members of his department are working to find out the same thing.
“We should have everything resolved pretty quickly,” Cobb said of the incident Saturday night in west Champaign that left Saathoff’s chocolate Labrador dead and the pit bull that attacked it locked up, still unclaimed by an owner.
About 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Saathoff’s daughter, Kelsey Markou, 18, was walking their Labrador, named Dog, near the corner of John Street and Crescent Drive.
“She had just turned the corner onto Crescent and was heading south back to our house,” said Saathoff, who lives across the street from Centennial High School. “A pit bull came from across the street from the apartment complex on the corner of John and Crescent.”
The pit bull had no collar or tags. She doesn’t know who owns it and said neighbors had also seen it previously but never with a person.
Saathoff said her daughter was trying to hurry back home with Dog, who was on a leash and wearing a pinch collar, when the pit bull started moving aggressively toward him.
“My dog is not a fighter. He’s a cuddler, a sweet dog who loved to play with other dogs. He’s never aggressive to other dogs. He probably didn’t know what to think at first,” she said of the 5-year-old Labrador that her family has had more than four years.
When the pit bull started going for Dog’s throat in a field a few yards from the street, Saathoff said, Kelsey reacted.
“She didn’t have a phone on her at the time. She’s kicking the pit bull trying to get it off. There wasn’t a lot of people out. A gentleman walking … called 911 and he came over and tried to kick the dog,” Saathoff said.
Saathoff said Kelsey eventually let go of Dog’s leash because the pinch collar was keeping him from defending himself.
When the police arrived, Saathoff said, Kelsey told the officer which dog was hers and where the pit bull had come from.
“He got 5 to 6 feet away from the dogs and just started shooting at them,” Saathoff recounted what her daughter had told her.
Although the number of shots fired has not been released, Saathoff said her daughter estimated there were eight.
Dog was hit in the neck by one of the shots and died there. An animal control officer got the pit bull and took it to the county animal pound where it’s been since Saturday night.
“He’ll be held for seven days to see if an owner comes forward to claim him,” said Stephanie Joos, director of Champaign County animal control.
The dog sustained injuries, she said, but remained in stable condition Tuesday. If no one claims the dog, it will be euthanized, Joos said.
Saathoff said her daughter ran home to get her after the shooting. They took Dog to the University of Illinois veterinary clinic, where she said a necropsy was done.
“Our dog died from a gunshot wound. Our dog didn’t die from a dog fight,” she said of the preliminary results her family received from the veterinarian.
Saathoff said her family wants to know why the officer felt he needed to use a gun to break up a dog fight, especially knowing at least one of the dogs was a family pet.
“Our biggest issue is that we don’t understand why there weren’t other non-violent means tried first,” Saathoff said.
She said Kelsey told her she did not feel personally endangered by the pit bull and that the dogs were tangling in the field at the southwest corner of the intersection, a few yards away from the sidewalk and street.
“I want them to be accountable and really look at the way the situation was handled. We’re traumatized and I have a daughter that’s going to be traumatized the rest of her life. She’ll never forget it. She hasn’t been sleeping. That’s a hard pill to swallow,” said Saathoff.
Cobb has declined to identify the officer who fired the shots while the police are working on their internal investigation. Any time a duty weapon is discharged, there is a review to see if the officer followed departmental policy, the chief said.
Police Kill Dog, Shoot Owner As He Attempts To Intervene
J.D. Tuccille|Oct. 26, 2012 11:39 am
Steven DeleonAs the list of news reports of police officers shooting dogs with minimal provocation grows, I’ve been waiting, in a watching-the motorcyclist-hit-the-oil-slick sort of way, for a person to get drawn in as “collateral damage.” A good many dog owners feel a strong, familial emotional bond to their pets. I know that I dropped a wad of cash and a lot of time on my dog, Max, when he tangled with a rattlesnake. A friend of mine called a business trip short, last week, when her pooch needed emergency surgery. I figured it was only a matter of time before a police officer drawing down on Fido triggered a protective reaction. And so it came to pass in Salem, Oregon.
This time, Steven Deleon only took a bullet in the foot when he jumped in, unsuccessfully, to save his “pit bull” (and let me note here that the term “pit bull” seems to be used by officials less as a technical breed name than as a description of any dog they shoot). According to the Salem News:
A Salem Police officer setting out to shoot a pit bull ended up shooting a man who apparently tried to place himself between the gun and the dog.
A Salem Police officer was firing at the pit bull, a spokesman says, when 38-year old Steven Deleon jumped in, apparently trying to intervene in the situation.
The Statesman-Journal reports that “officers had gone to the address to look for a wanted person. Officers Darren Buchholz and Travis Brossard were in the residence speaking with people when they were attacked by the pit bull.” This means that the dog’s owners were there in the room with the officers when the dog “attacked” them. Rather than let the owners deal with the dog, Officer Darren Buchholz drew his weapon in the midst of those owners and ended up shooting one of them as well as killing the dog.
Admittedly, there’s a certain survival-instinct deficit in jumping in front of a firearm that’s been drawn in anger. But that’s the sort of thing that people do for their loved ones. I honestly don’t know if I would do that for one of my dogs, though I suspect I would. I would certainly do it for my wife or son. I’m not surprised that somebody, on the spot, tried to save his pet and took a bullet for his troubles.
Here’s a thought: How long will it be before somebody, standing over the body of his cop-shot animal, really loses his temper, with headlines to follow?
Perhaps realizing that matters canine and law-enforcement-ish have slipped out of hand, the Forth Worth, Texas, police department is retraining its officers to deal with dogs in a less permanent fashion. From KHOU:
Trainer Jim Osorio asks for a show of hands in the police auditorium. “How many people here think they can handle a dog encounter without lethal force? I think all of you can,” he said.
Osorio, a former cop, tells them there are dogs in about one in three households — nearly 80 million in all. He says officers shoot about 250,000 dogs a year… often needlessly.
“I’m going to train them whatever they carry can be used on an animal,” Osario explained. “Clipboard, flare… whatever.”
He demonstrated techniques with his own German Shepherd, Coral. She barked angrily when he raised a short baton, then calmed down, reflecting his own calm demeanor as he spoke to her.
Osario said lethal force is the last resort.
The Fort Worth training comes after police shot a Border Collie belonging to Mark and Cindy Boling. The Bolings apparently extracted the new training regimen as a condition of not suing over the video-recorded incident, which occurred when officers mistakenly arrived at their door. That video is played during the classes.
Hollywood, FL police searching for robber shoot, kill dog
Author: Roger Lohse, Local 10 Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. –
A Hollywood police officer shot and killed a pit bull in a resident’s back yard while searching for a man who had committed a strong armed robbery.
It happened just before noon Wednesday in the 2300 block of Wiley Street. The 4-year-old male pit bull, named Pup-pup, was shot in the back yard of a home that he was trained to protect.
“I just heard gunshots as I was walking back to the house,” said dog owner Antonio Williamson.
It happened just after Williamson came outside to ask why so many police officers were parked in front of his house. They were looking for a man who had punched another guy in the face and stole his bike in front of a convenience store on Pembroke Road and 22nd Avenue. A witness followed the suspect to the area on Wiley Street and called 911.
“The police suspected the robber may have gone into the back yard so they entered through a side gate.
“When they got to the back yard, they were confronted by a pit bull,” said Hollywood Police Sgt. Lester Cochenour.
The dog was shot multiple times and died in the back yard. Williamson was angry that officers didn’t knock first. He said Pup-pup was a humble dog and was great with kids, but was also trained to protect to his property.
“There have been a lot of break ins around here, in this area for the last year and a half or so, and I have my dog out here just for that purpose,” Williamson told Local 10’s Roger Lohse.
Lohse reported that there are no signs on the side of Williamson’s house indicating that a dog was in the backyard. Under the law, police are allowed to enter private property if they are pursuing or searching for a felony suspect.
But none of that makes either side feel any better about how this confrontation ended.
“It is an unfortunate circumstance that the dog and the police met. It was not the initial call but the officer had to shoot the dog to protect himself,” said Sgt. Cochenour.
“Well, you know, they apologized about it but naturally the dog was protecting its area,” Williamson told Lohse.
Owners of a dog shot during a Fayetteville police raid file complaint
Published: 10:18 PM, Fri Sep 21, 2012
A family whose dog was shot when Fayetteville police raided their Clarendon Street home on Wednesday morning has filed a complaint against the officers.
Department spokesman Gavin MacRoberts said the incident remained under investigation Friday.
MacRoberts said it is standard procedure for the department to conduct an internal investigation of complaints regarding uses of force in any police matter. That investigation will look at whether police operated according to department standards.
Christian Yepez and his family met with police Friday afternoon to discuss the matter, but MacRoberts said he could not share what was said because it relates to personnel matters.
Yepez’s mother, Pennie Yepez, said about 11 people went to the police station Friday afternoon to ask police why the family dog was killed.
She said police did not offer much insight as to what happened to lead to the dog’s death and family members left frustrated that their concerns were not being heard.
MacRoberts said police entered the home to execute a search warrant as part of an investigation involving Yepez. He said the dog was shot after police entered, but it remained unclear what prompted police to fire on 5-year-old Nastradamus, a medium-sized mixed breed.
“Details beyond that are part of the internal investigation and not being released,” MacRoberts said.
Yepez was arrested after the raid and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances. MacRoberts said police seized less than 1.5 ounces of marijuana and two guns from the home.
Pennie Yepez said she was not home during the raid. Her son was upstairs sleeping when police kicked in the front door about 7 a.m. and threw flash grenades, she said. The dog was sleeping on the couch by the front door, and, after police entered, the dog moved away from the door.
“He was in the kitchen and (police) shot him three times,” she said.
Pennie Yepez said the family had Nastradamus’ body examined by a local veterinarian with x-rays to view the full scope of his injuries. She said there was a visible bullet hole in the dog’s neck, unexplained leg injuries and several broken bones.
Staff writer Caitlin Dineen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3509.
Maryland family awarded compensation in police shoot dog case
September 19, 2012
By: Penny Eims
A Montgomery County judge has awarded a Frederick, Md. family significant compensation for pain and suffering, in addition to veterinary costs, following a police versus dog shooting incident which took place in 2010.
According to Wednesday’s publication of the SF Gate, Roger and Sandi Jenkins of Frederick, Md. will receive $600,000 for pain and suffering, in addition to $7,500 for veterinary expenses which resulted when their Labrador retriever was shot by a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy in January, 2010.
Back in April, a jury had determined that the Jenkins should receive $620,000 in compensation. The judge had to reduce the veterinary expense compensation from $20,000 to $7,500 due to a cap set forth by Maryland state law.
The Jenkins’ dog, a chocolate Labrador retriever named “Brandi,” was shot by Deputy Timothy Brooks when he and another officer came to the Jenkins home to deliver a civil warrant to the couple’s son, who no longer lived at the residence.
Deputy Brooks shot Brandi after she bounded out from the Jenkins’ home. The shooting incident was captured on video.
The dog survived the shooting, but was grievously wounded.
When the Jenkins rushed their injured dog to a veterinarian for care, the deputies illegally entered their home.
After the jury’s initial verdict, lawyer Cary Hansel of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake in Greenbelt, Maryland and Rebekah D. Lusk of the Thienel Law Firm, stated:
“The verdict makes it clear that Maryland citizens will not tolerate the killing and maiming of innocent family pets by those in positions of power. The jury valiantly defended our constitutional rights to be secure from this violence on our property and to be safe in our own homes. This is a victory for the constitution and for all Maryland citizens.”
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Video Report #2:
ST. LOUIS, MI (WNEM) –
A local family is still shocked after what happened to their beloved pet. They say their dog was shot and killed at the hands of a police officer.
The shooting happened Saturday in St. Louis, Mich., in Gratiot County.
Lori Walmsley, a neighbor of the family who lost their pet, says she saw the incident.
Walmsley says she was outside playing with her own dog when her neighbor’s golden retriever, Scout, ran over into her yard. She says she called the dog over to play, which Scout did, and then Scout ran back over back into his own yard. That’s when Walmsley says a police officer showed up.
Walmsley said the officer asked if the was dog hers. She said “no,” but told the officer Scout wasn’t dangerous. She says the officer tried to catch the dog, who apparently didn’t want to be caught. The dog tried to run away and when cornered by the officer, let out a little growl. Walmsley says she couldn’t believe what happened next.
“I heard ‘pop pop pop pop pop,’ and I thought, ‘what is going on,’ and I [saw] the St. Louis Police Department standing over my dog,” said Scout’s owner.
“He just started shooting him, he just kept shooting him in the head,” said Walmsley. “I said, ‘What are you doing? He’s just a puppy!'”
The dog was taken to the vet were it later died.
The witness says the officer wasn’t provoked and she doesn’t feel his reaction was warranted. Scout’s owners were inside their house during the incident.
TV5 has a follow-up to this story — watch the report at the top of this page as we take The Tough Questions to the officer’s boss.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Eyewitness: Officer used baton, boot on injured dog
August 28, 2012 4:00 pm • By ERIC BETZ Sun staff reporter
A Flagstaff police officer repeatedly struck an injured Sunnyside dog with a baton and stomped its head with his boot, according to an eyewitness who watched the incident at about 2:30 a.m. on August 19.
Police officials say an officer hit the loose dog with his patrol car when the animal darted out from behind a parked vehicle. However, the methods that the officer’s supervisor used to euthanize the dog have since come under scrutiny, triggering parallel criminal and internal affairs investigations.
Police Chief Kevin Treadway confirmed that Corporal John Tewes had been placed on administrative leave the day after the incident after another police supervisor brought the incident to light.
The Sunnyside resident, who has been interviewed by police, asked to remain anonymous to avoid the public attention that would arise from being identified. She says she watched the entire incident from her window as the injured dog was spotlighted in the street.
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.
“OK, sir. We’ll take care of it. Just go back to your house,” the police told her husband, according to the witness
Police officials told the Daily Sun the following Friday, Aug. 24, that they were unaware who owned the dog.
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. 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.
The couple assumed that the police department would have notified the dog owners and were nervous to talk to them about it all last week.
When the witness saw the story in the Daily Sun on Saturday, she approached police her neighbors.
The dog owner told the witness that she and her family spent all week trying to find their dog and eventually were asked to identify its body at the Coconino Humane Association. A police investigator came and told them what happened to their dog on Friday.
Police officials declined to confirm any details of the witness’ account, citing the ongoing investigation.
Soon after the investigations were launched, police officials learned that Tewes might have also separately made threats against his ex-wife. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating potential criminal charges for animal abuse and making threats.
Police officials told the Daily Sun last week that they would not elaborate on how the animal was killed, other than that a firearm was not used.
“This case is under both an administrative and criminal investigation,” Treadway said when asked today about the witness’ account. “A police officer or any other member of this community is entitled to due process and I’m prohibited by law from releasing information while this investigation is under way.”
However, Treadway says he’s personally been in contact with the dog owners and expressed the police department’s condolences.
“As the chief I want to assure the community that we are taking this situation very seriously and I will commit to … the community that once this investigation is complete we will share the entire investigation,” Treadway said.
Dog killed by police, owners outraged
by Brianna Smith
Posted: 09.06.2012 at 3:30 PM
A four year old pit bull was shot and killed by Horry County Police on Monday. The family says the dog wouldn’t harm anyone, but police say they are responsible to protect the public if they’re feeling threatened.
Monday morning, Horry County Police responded to an animal call in the Forestbrook neighborhood.
According to Horry County Police Interim Chief, Saundra Rhodes, “The neighbor was concerned about the safety of himself and his grandkids and because of a possible hole in the fence, the dog could get through, and so the officer wanted to go back and observe the threat itself.”
While the officer was in the backyard checking on the hole, Shadow, the pit bull, came through the hole.
“Based on the officers instincts, and based on what the report says, the animal was coming to him in a manner that made him feel threatened,” said Rhodes. “And so the officer unfortunately in a matter of seconds, you don’t have time to determine whether or not this animal was coming to play with you, but it’s my understanding that the animal was not coming up purring or that the animal was coming snarling towards them and the officer did not have an opportunity to gauge the friendliness of the animal.”
Shadow’s owner Jason Carvalho says the dog was like a family member, “he was like one of my children.”
Carvalho says he can’t believe that his dog would go after anyone.
The police report says that 4 shots were fired, and Carvalho feels like that is too many, but Rhodes doesn’t agree.
“I don’t believe that 4 shots are excessive,” said Rhodes. “I think that most of the time when people lose an animal one shot would be considered too many for them.”
Shadow’s owners plan to file a complaint with the Horry County Police Department.
Rhodes says she welcomes the chance to sit down with the owners and discuss the incident.
Shadow’s owners have set up a facebook page about their pet’s death.
Sheriff defends deputy who responded to wrong house, killed tethered dog
August 30, 2012
By: Terese Seaberg
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that it would not be pursuing disciplinary action against a deputy who fatally shot a tethered dog earlier this week.
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.
Following Diamond’s shooting, Woodruff learned that the deputy had come to the property to serve child support papers on a man who did not live there. As a matter of fact, Woodruff says that he has lived in the home for five years and has no idea who the man is.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright has expressed remorse over the incident, but states that Deputy Boutin will not be punished for the shooting of Diamond. Wright justified the shooting by saying that there was a chance the tether could have slipped off which would have resulted in Boutin being bitten.
Diamond’s bereaved owner is not satisfied with the department’s response and does not believe that his tethered 35 pound dog posed a serious risk to the deputy. He plans on pursuing legal action against the department.
Buffalo Woman Says Police Raided Wrong House, Killed Her Dog
By John Borsa
August 30, 2012 Updated Aug 31, 2012 at 7:17 AM EDT
BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – When Rita Hairston’s husband died five years ago, she adopted a dog to keep her company and help her through an emotional time.
Prada was 5-years-old at the time. The black Labrador Retriever became more than a pet, but a part of Hairston’s family. A companion.
Last Saturday morning, she returned to her E. Morris Ave. house in University Heights in Buffalo and discovered her home had been broken into and Prada was missing.
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.
No drugs were recovered from Hairston’s home.
Watch Eyewitness News at 11:00 Thursday night for more on this story.