Sheriff defends deputy who responded to wrong house, killed tethered dog

Spartanburg County
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.