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Posted at 9:17 AM ET, 08/ 6/2010

Officer who shot dog placed on leave

By Washington Post editors

The off-duty federal police officer who fatally shot a Siberian husky in a Severn dog park has been placed on administrative leave while county police investigate the incident, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The officer's attorney maintains he fired his gun in defense of his pet, his wife and himself.

The dog, known as Bear-Bear, was shot Monday evening at the Quail Run community dog park. The husky's owner and the federal police officer have given differing accounts of what led to the shooting. Bear-Bear's owners say he was playing with the officer's dog, but the officer told police that the husky tried to bite him and his dog.

By Washington Post editors  | August 6, 2010; 9:17 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Maryland  
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Comments

I've seen a lot of comments from people with strong feelings about this incident. What is striking to me is that none of them have the facts, and they know that they don't have the facts. There are two stories on the table -- that of the two dog owners -- and they conflict. There were three child witnesses, and we don't even know what they have to say. Were their vet bills for the dog that was supposedly attacked? We don't know. Were their hospital bills for the people involved? We don't know. The owners of the shot dog have made a huge media appeal; the owners of the other dog have not been able to do this because of professional reasons and because they have received personal threats.

What would you do if your dog was being viciously attacked and the owners of the other dog were unwilling or unable to control their dog?

As for the comments that suggest that anyone discharging a gun puts everyone in a square mile at risk, and imply that the thing to do therefore is to stand by and watch another dog kill your dog, I can assure you that such a person does not know the first thing about firearms and their use(and yet feels entitled to have strong opinions about them also).

All opinions are not created equal. An opinion in a vacuum of facts is worthless.

Posted by: nunyo555 | August 6, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

You ask: "What would you do if your dog was being viciously attacked and the owners of the other dog were unwilling or unable to control their dog?" Well, I'm not sure what I would do, but I sure as heck would not fire a gun in a dog park. You yourself say that there were children there. Anyone that takes their dog to a park knows that there is risk of a dog fight. If everyone's response to this was to shoot the other dog involved, I don't think we'd have dog parks anymore.

So I guess in your stupid little fantasy land for all you socially inept nerds that feel some kind of power by going to places like dog parks with guns on them, you may be correct. But that land does not exist.


Posted by: mike8 | August 6, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

First off, from everything I've been able to read, there were no vet bills for the officer's dog. It was my understanding that the officer's dog was examined by animal control and given a clean bill of health. No scratches or bite marks. So, I guess the first thing I'd do before firing a deadly weapon in a residential area is make sure there was a reason to pull and discharge the weapon.

I'm a dog owner and have been to several dog parks. I've witnessed dog fights, and have never had to resort to physical violence to break them up. Usually a loud voice or simply pulling the dogs apart has been enough. I've never had to kick, much less kill a dog to break up a fight.

You claim not to know anything about vet bills, or hospital bills, but then state that "The owners of the shot dog have made a huge media appeal; the owners of the other dog have not been able to do this because of professional reasons and because they have received personal threats." So, how do you know about these professional reasons or personal threats?

Posted by: will18 | August 6, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

There are two sides to every story - true.

However - as a lifetime dog owner I can tell you that there are plenty of other ways to subdue a dog brawl if it arises. Using a gun to kill another animal is not the solution. We have laws in this state to control animals. If every citizen just takes it upon themselves to do something like this then why do we bother having laws!

I walk my dogs 4 miles a day and have done so for over 20 years. We have encountered dangerous dogs on numerous occasions. I could carry vinegar water, or mace, or pepper spray, if I wanted to. I could carry a small BB gun, a tazer, or a pellet gun. I have never felt the need to do that with my two huskies. They are both ambassadors of peace in this neighborhood playing with any and every animal they encounter.

Regardless of the facts of this situation a gun is NOT the solution that should be used and an officer of the law should have the sense to know that. This man lacks sound judgement and should not be allowed to carry a weapon.

If he felt his dog was in danger going to the dog park he should have abstained from going there. My two dogs don't play at any dog parks for the same reason. They are wonderful dogs but not everyone has a handle on their pets. We have a huge tennis court here where my dogs can run and play with chosen playmates who I know are safer for them and everyone.

This officer was out of line - plain and simple - and Bear Bear shouldn't have been killed because of his poor judgement or the possible poor judgement of the owner's brother for not being quick enough at separating the two.

It was a senseless act of brutality and one of God's most precious creatures died because of it.

Posted by: carol_stonestreet | August 6, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

This happened at a Dog Park?!?! Are you kidding? If you are going to fire a gun during a scuffle at a dog park 1) you should not ever go to a dog park, and 2) you are probably not mentally stable enough to be carrying a gun (or be a cop).

Posted by: ghokee | August 6, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

There was a link to an article in the Baltimore Sun, in yesterdays post article, which stated that the officers dog had no injuries at all. So there are some facts for you nunya555. Discharging a firearm anywhere near children regardless of your gun skills is ridiculously irresponsible in any situation unless your life is in danger. Which I doubt was the case (because the neither the officer nor his wife suffered any injuries according to the Sun article. More facts for you.) Anyone defending this officers actions is out of touch with reality. I'm sure the investigation will show he acted irresponsibly. Although he should lose his job, he will probably only be suspended without pay because that's how police officers get treated around here.

Posted by: whataboutfreedom | August 6, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Someone should have grabbed his gun and smashed his nose into his face with the butt. Heck, I volunteer. What a psycho.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | August 6, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me that someone who brings a gun to a dog park is also the same kind of person looking for an excuse to use it. Second, if you don't want your dog getting rough housed, then don't take him to a dog park. That's what happens at those places. I can't tell you how many times my 15 pound dog was 'attacked' by a much larger dog in a jaws-on-neck kind of way. It's a very common domination/submission thing for dogs. Lastly, I can't imagine the kind of precedent this would set if the officer is cleared of any wrongdoing. So can I start shooting dogs too whenever I feel my dog and 'my family' are threatned? (a former military man and current Federal cop can't handle a 100 pound dog? Absurd). Can I start shooting bullies and jerks on the street or in bars every time I feel threatened?

Posted by: pswift00 | August 6, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

What would you do if your dog was being viciously attacked and the owners of the other dog were unwilling or unable to control their dog?

Posted by: nunyo555 | August 6, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see any metion of a viscious attack in the article. The officer said the dog tried to bite them.

Posted by: johnfchick1 | August 6, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The cop was wrong, and acted full of entitlement. You don't discharge a weapon in a crowed place, and if the cop felt threatened by an obviously non-vicious dog, he should leave the park. Then deal with the dogs owner in an adult fashion.

Posted by: jckdoors | August 6, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

This federal officer exercised extremely poor judgement, which is representative of the kind of judgement he uses on the job. He's not stable, and he's dangerous. He should be fired because he fired his weapon at a dog park. That's just stupid.

Posted by: 123cartoon | August 6, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"What would you do if your dog was being viciously attacked and the owners of the other dog were unwilling or unable to control their dog?"

This actually happened to my husband and I at a dog park in NoVA. We have a jack russell, a pit bull was in the park with his owner (a woman). My husband worked for a while as a vet tech and said to me the pit is going to go after our dog because he was watching the body language, he called to our dog so we could leave and while he was returning he told the owner that her dog was about to go after ours. So she says oh no he's the perfect angel. Next thing you know her pit just misses taking a chunk out of my dog. My dog is underneath the pit bull so that he can't quite bite him, looking terrified. All the tact and composure left me at that moment and I told her in no uncertain terms if she didn't get control of her dog i would beat the living crap out of her (it wasn't this polite), I wasn't joking. In the end my husband was able to restrain her dog without being injured. Was I right to threaten physical violence, no, if her dog attacked ours would I have hit her, most definitely and I would have been wrong. But my emotions were running high and I understand that feeling when something you love is in danger.

My anger wasn't toward the dog it was toward the owner and in my case my dog was completely out matched unlike the cops German Shepard vs a husky. Mine would have most certainly been seriously injured if not killed. So while I completely understand wanting to protect your dog from harm, shooting another dog in a dog park doesn't seem justifiable.

Posted by: Redial1 | August 6, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

For Will18:

"So, how do you know about these professional reasons or personal threats?"

These were reported on Channel 8 in this morning's news.

I don't know if there was another way to break off Bear-Bear's attack (if it was an attack) by the owner of the attacked dog. I wasn't there. I'd be interested in hearing from any of you that were.

For those upset over the discharge of the firearm (as opposed to the killing of Bear-bear), it could have been irresponsible, depending on the direction of fire and whether there was any risk that the bullet would have struck bystanders directly or by ricochet. (Always be aware of your target, and what is behind and beyond it.) But this is something else we don't know.

Posted by: nunyo555 | August 6, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely unconscionable what this "cop" did to that Husky. Federal Police Officer, like a Special Police Officer (SPO),is just a fancy name for a rent-a-cop. The standard response for this "cop" and most other cops is that "I feared for my life". What a "cop-out"! No bite marks on him, his wife and his dog. Hmmm, what does that suggest? He had no business carrying a firearm off-duty in an area especially where children were playing nearby. There were alternatives to resolving this situation and I can guarantee that his "training" did not prepare him for that. A pysch eval and/or other punishment might be in the offering for this gunslinger regardless of how his ambulance-chasing lawyer spins it. Let's remember the equal force rule.

Posted by: Triclimate4 | August 6, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

This officer should be in jail. His sociopathic cowboy behavior is inexcusable. This isn't the wild west, where we pull guns and shoot whenever there's a conflict. There are non-lethal ways to resolve disputes.

Posted by: dornbiker | August 6, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

There is a big difference between biting and trying to bite (as the story indicates). I have a 11 month old puppy and he shows his teeth at times to strangers - does that mean he should be shot? He backs down and has never bit anyone.

This guy is up doo-creek.

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | August 6, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, he has a right to carry, but DoD background and clearance investigations SHOULD have determined the officer was unstable.

Questions:
Why hasn't the local District Atty sought an arrest? Clearly this guy is a threat? No one is safe in Severn. When are elections for Sheriff and county admin?

Why hasn't the gov't removed his clearance? Sounds like, this loser is one step from a wild shooter.

Posted by: trailerparkricky | August 6, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

There is never a reason to discharge a firearm in a public area populated with children, dogs and owners.
What really happened? Facts or no facts. Reality is he panicked, wanted vengeance, had the power and he used it.
The real question is why is he still working for the Department of Defense, and how did he obtain and keep clearance and right to carry a gun?

Posted by: trailerparkricky | August 6, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The only way to combat this kind of reckless behavior on the part of armed people is to actually arm dogs. We must all come together and support:

THE RIGHT TO ARM BEAR-BEAR!

Posted by: shocked-n-saddened | August 6, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I think a valid question is why is this OFF DUTY police officer carrying a concealed weapon to a dog park?? I have a huge problem with this! I mean, children saw this!!! Children saw a police officer (off duty) pull out a gun and shoot a dog. This is totally unacceptable, this loose cannon should be removed from the police force. That is irrational and irresponsible behavior, regardless of the situation. What if one of those kids were accidentally shot?!?!

Posted by: demme | August 8, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The dog killer lives a VERY short distance from the park. Why he felt that his German Shepherd wouldn't be enough "protection" for his short walk to the dog park is beyond me. Why he felt that a Husky was so big a threat to a German Shepherd *and* two adult humans, that shooting it was the only option is also beyond me. This guy has no right to ever own a gun again if he is so willing to use it indiscriminately. If he or his dog actually would have been injured, then he could make a case for the self defense. But he cannot.

What would this cretin do if he was walking down a city street and saw someone "suspicious" walking towards him? Would he kill the person and try to explain about how he "threatened" he felt.

He might be able to put one over on the police, but he can't put one over on the entire public. He needs to admit that what he did was WRONG and pay restitution.

Posted by: cf71 | August 8, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

My only question is.. if the husky attacked his dog like he says around the neck, how come noone has come forward to say, show the injuries caused to the german shepard. If the dog attacked his dog why didnt he state the injuries to his dog. I have a pit bull and a rottweiler, and when people see them play they freak out and think OMG your dogs are fighting.. the pitbull grabs the rotty by the neck and they sound so furious,, but their only playing and I can see if your not use to seeing dogs play or only have 1 dog you may not know their playing..Just because the one dog grabbed the other by the neck doesnt mean its aggressive, they play that way

Posted by: bowtiesaly | August 10, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

My only question is.. if the husky attacked his dog like he says around the neck, how come noone has come forward to say, show the injuries caused to the german shepard. If the dog attacked his dog why didnt he state the injuries to his dog. I have a pit bull and a rottweiler, and when people see them play they freak out and think OMG your dogs are fighting.. the pitbull grabs the rotty by the neck and they sound so furious,, but their only playing and I can see if your not use to seeing dogs play or only have 1 dog you may not know their playing..Just because the one dog grabbed the other by the neck doesnt mean its aggressive, they play that way

Posted by: bowtiesaly | August 10, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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