We have another case of a family dog shot by police. The latest such incident occurred in Rains County, Texas where Cole Middleton says that an officer responded to his call about a burglary at his home and shot his dog upon exiting the police car. To make matters worse, Middleton alleges that the officer refused to finish off his cow dog Candy despite his pleas that she was suffering. They have identified the officer as Rains County Officer Jerred Dooley.
Middleton, a dairy farmer, says that he came home to find his house burglarized and his guns, iPad, and wife’s jewelry gone. While they waited for police, he joined his father in harvesting in the field. He said that he saw the police car arrive and was walking toward it. As the car pulled into the front of the house, the dog began to bark. Middleton says that they beeped the tractor’s horn repeatedly to show that they were coming. Candy was lying on the bed of a truck parked next to the house. After the officer shot the dog, they say that he opened the door of the house and said “I shot your dog. Sorry.” They also said that he retreated to his car and told them over the loudspeaker not to approach him.
Middleton said that he ran over to his dog and found it writhing in pain and dying. He told reporters that “she was still alive and I begged and pleaded with him to please shoot her again because I don’t have any firearms. They got stolen. He went and got in his vehicle and backed out of my driveway.” He said that he had to kill Candy with his bare hands to put her out of her suffering. The family said that the dog was actually shot behind the ear.
Middleton says that more officers arrived and began to question him about the blood on his shirt, which he explained was from the dog that he was holding.
The family has created a “Justice for Candy” website which states “Candy was brutally murdered in her own yard by Rains County Officer Jerred Dooley after her owners had been robbed. Her only crime was barking.”
We have seen a series of these cases (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). The concern is that police routinely shot dogs without taking minimal efforts of avoidance or alternative measures in terms of force. Since pets remain classified as merely chattel in the United States, family dogs are not treated like humans in the use of lethal force.
The website includes a video of the officers at the scene. The police department is making no comment at this time but say that it will be investigated.