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Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 08/18/2010

Officer who shot dog at park to be charged

By Washington Post editors

Anne Arundel County prosecutors plan to charge a civilian Army police officer with two misdemeanors in the fatal shooting of a Siberian husky in a Severn dog park.

The shooting of the dog, known as Bear-Bear, prompted widespread outrage, and County Executive John Leopold pressed county police for a full investigation.

Prosecutors say 32-year-old Keith Shepherd of Severn will be charged with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within 100 feet of an occupied structure. The firearm charge carries a maximum of six months in jail, and there's a maximum 90-day term on the animal cruelty charge. Both could also result in a $1,000 fine.

Shepherd's attorney has said Bear-Bear attacked Shepherd's dog and that his client fired his gun to defend his dog, himself and his wife.

Hear Shepherd's 911 call following the shooting.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post editors  | August 18, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Maryland  
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Posted by: marylandmymaryland | August 18, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

From case closed to charges filed. Shows what the power of the media and the people can do.
Charges may be light but I bet this guy wishes he had never gone to the park that day.
He deserves everything he has coming to him.

Posted by: Vaiden | August 18, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The scary part is this guy will still be carrying a firearm.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | August 18, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

And the other lesson here is don't hand over your dog to someone who is incapable of controlling it. Not every dog owner using the park thinks it's okay for other dogs to pounce on their pets, "just playing" or not.

Posted by: Nghbrhdwatch | August 18, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This guy was looking for...maybe day dreaming about...dare I say fantasizing about...having a good reason to use his service revolver. He was looking for a reason and unfortunately he thought Bear-Bear gave him one. He is wholly unfit to carry a license or work in law enforcement, and these charges alone do not solve the real problem and potential future threat he represents. He needs to lose his job and his permit also.

Posted by: MrNonCents | August 18, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad the owner of Bear-Bear didn't show his teeth at the policeman as if to hurt him, because he would been shot too.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | August 18, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Dogs pounce on each other at dog parks all the time!!! If you go there that is what you have to expect; they also run towards strangers, no reason to kill.

Posted by: jeanlucca | August 18, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I personally don't see the big deal. It's just A DOG, not a human. I wish more police time and effort was spent on solving cases of HUMANS being killed. I understand that pets are considered parts of a family or whatever, but I say pay a fine and/or damages to the owners, maybe some community service, and call it a day. If some dog was trying to attack me or my pet, I'd wanna defend myself too. If the guy had let Bear-Bear mangle his dog, he'd have still ended up dead anyway...isn't that what they do to vicious dogs that attack?

Posted by: ms_mbacpa | August 18, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I also love how people's untrained pets lunge at me and my children all the time, sometimes even on my own property. Oh, they're just being playful! How silly of me.

Posted by: Wallenstein | August 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Maximum 90 days for animal cruelty? Regardless of the circumstances of this particular event--and don't get me wrong, this man's behavior was outrageous--the mere fact that the MAXIMUM for animal cruelty is only 90 days and a $1k fine is a sickening commentary on our society, or at least the laws of AA County. You probably face more than that if you get caught shoplifting a pack of cigarettes.

Posted by: trule | August 18, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Wallenstein: "Yes, I also love how people's untrained pets lunge at me and my children all the time, sometimes even on my own property. Oh, they're just being playful! How silly of me."

- Yes, there are untrained dogs and rude people out there. Lots of them, in fact. So, you gonna shoot 'em all?

Posted by: trule | August 18, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The point isn't that the victim was a dog...that is totally missing the point. The real issue is that Mr. Man used his service revolver in that situation. It's a good thing it was "just" a dog as he could have used equally bad judgment in a situation involving a human...with even more tragic results.

Posted by: MrNonCents | August 18, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm wishing this officer would do this again. What a great service he provides!

Posted by: stinkyliberals | August 18, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

This happened at a dog park, which, by definition, is a place for dogs to play. This was not a case of an officer going to a crack house and being attacked by the resident pit bull. That's a key distinction.

Posted by: Dave115 | August 18, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

People need to understand the purpose of a dog park. It's an enclosed area where dogs can run freely off leash. In order to be comfortable with other canines they may never have met before, dogs need to sniff each other out and sometimes have a playful squabble (playful=tails are wagging) to sort out who's who. Actual violence between dogs is very rare at dog parks: it's a good place for dogs to learn to act appropriately around other dogs.

Shepherd kept his dog on-leash, which shows he totally missed the point of the dog park. Dogs on-leash are often intimidated by off-leash dogs (because they can't run away in case of potential attack) and overreact to scare away the unleashed dogs. This seems to be what happened in this case. That's why many dog parks have posted signs that require all dogs to be off-leash, although you'd think that would be a no-brainer.

If Shepherd wanted to keep his dog on a leash and didn't want other dogs to approach him, he was stupid to take him to the dog park. He was 500 times stupid to shoot a dog who was just following the accepted rules of behavior at a dog park. Glad to see AA County throwing the book at him, such as it is.

Posted by: csdiego | August 18, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

ms_mbacpa, dogs are far better than humans. Humans seem to be the worst thing that ever happened to this planet.

Wallenstein, I feel the exact same way about your snotty, annoying offspring.

Posted by: Stats | August 18, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I can care less who he is,he murdered a family pet.He broke the owners heart.If he would have shot my dog of 13 yrs.I'd make sure he paid the full price.Most dog owners consider their pet PART OF THE FAMILY!He shot a family member.And by a police officer!You should be ashamed of yourself,wimp.You need to think before you take action.And @ a dog park?How about we all carry guns so we can shoot what ever we want? Which is AGAINST THE LAW!!My father-in-law was a police officer& he TRAINED POLICE DOGS,shouldn't that be part of your training?Then maybe u will see how precious MAN'S BEST FRIEND is...hope u get the max....

Posted by: hjhJessup | August 18, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I predict acquittal. This will be a non-jury trial, and I don't see a judge convicting based upon community hysteria.

Posted by: maus92 | August 18, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

ms = bs
let us all pack heat at the dog park.. that way when some pack animal decides to express a dominant behavior alpha is only a few clicks kids there that day? TOOL

Posted by: flecks22 | August 18, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

a) Will he lose his privilege to carry a firearm?

b) Will he be fired by the USG?

If both are not true, it is yet another case, as in PG County, where the cops do what they want & then walk away....

Posted by: j_oper | August 18, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I personally don't think he'll be convicted, much as I'd like to see it. Apparently, the person who took the dog to thew park has a mental condition, and I'm sure the defense will harp on that (lawyers can be SO sleazy, blaming the victim). But I hope the cop is sued into bankruptcy. If I were Obama, I'd order that he placed in charge of guarding uncleaned latrines. In Afghanistan.

But the business about being a "federal police officer"? Please, he's a security guard who happens to be employed by the government. This is what happens when you give everyone and everything a police force. You get cops rousting kids for eating a french fry on the subway, cops killing playful dogs in an off-leash dog park, and it will just get worse.

Posted by: gbooksdc | August 19, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

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