Sheriff Fires Texas Deputy Who Shot Dog During Burglary Call

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Candy Middleton
Candy Middleton

We previously discussed a disturbing report of a family pet shot by Rains County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerrod Dooley, HERE. The incident stemmed when homeowner Cole Middleton arrived home about 11:00 AM and discovered his residence had been burglarized and several items, including all his firearms were stolen. Several hours later, while Cole was working in a field harvesting grass, Deputy Dooley arrived. The deputy then claimed he was threatened by Cole Middleton’s cow dog Candy when she darted out from a pickup truck and was shot. Despite being begged by Cole to put down Candy to end her suffering, Deputy Dooley instead calls for help and pulls back in his patrol car to wait for “backup”. Cole, having no firearms to perform a coup de grâce, suffered the terror of having to drown Candy in a bucket to end it for her.

Jerrod Dooley
Deputy Jerrod Dooley

Newly released dash cam video capturing much of the incident shows Deputy Dooley arriving at the residence and pulling behind a pickup truck. Candy is lying down in the bed of the truck and when the patrol vehicle pulls up she stands and begins barking with tail wagging. Candy continues to bark and then jumps out of the bed and is subsequently shot by Deputy Dooley. Shortly thereafter, Cole walks up and Deputy Dooley informs him that he had to shoot his dog. Cole is understandably distressed yet the deputy calls for backup saying he needs “help” and is shown backing out of the driveway.

Sheriff David Traylor fired Deputy Dooley and later stated to a KLTV reporter that it was for Dooley’s safety because of numerous threats made against him and the department. He added that it is the safest move for the department and the deputy.

In the three decades Sheriff Traylor stated he was in law enforcement, he had never seen a department receive so many threats from a single incident. Ultimately he said thas was the reason Dooley was fired. The hundreds of calls from outraged citizens was beginning to detract from other responsibilities the department is charged with and Sheriff Traylor believed having Dooley on the force put he and other deputies at risk. Dooley had been employed for six months. The sheriff confirmed that a criminal investigation into the shooting is underway and is headed by the Texas Rangers.

Sheriff David Traylor
Sheriff David Traylor

Sheriff Traylor stated his department is implementing policy changes he hopes will reduce the likelihood of a similar tragedy reoccurring; such as waiting in the car if possible or honking a horn to have the dog’s owner to come by and address the dog. But the sheriff was pragmatic about these policies by adding “you can put the policies out there and follow them as best you can…but it will be a matter of common sense.”

Candy’s owner Cole Middleton said he is glad that Deputy Dooley was fired and still hoped there would be a criminal prosecution for the shooting.

One reason for Deputy Dooley’s sudden departure from the Rains County Sheriff’s Office might be that as a six month employee, he is likely on probation and in this respect is subject to termination at the pleasure of the sheriff before a civil service tenure is afforded him. During the probationary time it gives the department an opportunity to vet the employee for suitability for a career with the department.

In the opinion of your author, the decision of Sheriff Traylor was sound. Deputy Dooley in this incident displayed a fundamental lack of proper discretion in dealing with a use of force issue and when faced with a despondent person (Cole Middleton) over having shot his dog, Dooley chose to call for “Help” and flee the scene. Calling for Help in the law enforcement world is a far more urgent distress call than calling for “backup”. Such a call, paired up with him backing out of the scene, will cause responding officers to believe a dire threat is being faced by the calling officer. This causes responding officers to respond faster and puts them at a higher risk and takes them away from even other in-progress calls. This type of incident was not something that Deputy Dooley should have backed out of. It is very indicative of future performances where he is going to be likely one who will call for help / backup at the drop of a hat and in a rural county environment where he will seldom be partnered up with another deputy, he likely is not suited to be a deputy sheriff.

He also showed cowardice in not wanting to face the situation of putting down Candy when decency and the law demanded the coup de grâce mercy be given. And how quick will he have been to shoot another animal or person when faced with a difficult situation where the use of a firearm is clearly not warranted otherwise. Jarrod Dooley’s actions are indicative that it is not worth the risk in him being afforded the duties of a deputy sheriff.

It seems clear that in some measure, the Middleton family will see some justice in the matter.

By Darren Smith

Sources:

KLTV
Rains County Sheriff’s Office (Photo Credit)

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113 thoughts on “Sheriff Fires Texas Deputy Who Shot Dog During Burglary Call”

  1. Former Deputy Dooley has since been indicted on felony animal cruelty charges.

  2. I would have liked to see the sheriff fire the deputy for his actions, rather than the threats to the deputy and the department. Perhaps the threat justification makes it easier to do administratively, but it is not as straightforward as it should be, and blurs the idea of accountability.

  3. Dear A. Gibson, I think we can all agree that the biggest most agressive, beautiful people are

  4. Paul,
    I understand it perfectly. The officer claimed he was not properly trained, and that may be so. That does not excuse him fleeing to his car after shooting the dog and refusing to come out. As has been pointed out, a clear demonstration of cowardice is grounds for firing at almost every department I know of. No excuses. And training will not “cure” cowardice. What happens when the manure hits the ventilator, and there is a critical situation where a rescue or gunfire is involved? You want this guy being your wingman, charged with protecting your six?

    “Not liking” and a phobia are two different things. There are a lot of things I don’t like, including some animals, but I don’t demonstrate a phobia about them. I spent many of my formative years in a rural area, and that area of Texas is about as rural as you can get. One of the first rules when driving up in a farmer’s yard and a dog comes out to meet you is STAY IN THE CAR! Honk the horn or yell, “Hello the house.” Dooley knew he was responding to a report of a house burglary, which is hardly an immediate emergency.

    As has been pointed out in this and other stories, any officer confronted with a small dog, 90-year-old WW-II vet, or a six-year-old is in the wrong line of work if they claim they “feared for their life.”

    1. Chuck – the real question is why did he flee to the car? He had already gone to the house and apologized for shooting the dog. I would posit that he might not want to escalate an already bad situation, but had to stay around.

      There are really two issues. 1) how he handled the animal 2) how he handled the situation after shooting the dog.

      Now I live in a metro area and all cops are taught that the first words to utter are “I was in fear of my life” My chiuahua was cited as a vicious dog and it took months to get her cleared. Small dogs can give you rabies just like big ones.

  5. Paul,
    Both Darren and I know Officer Brandi who posted two comments upthread. She emphasized to me that the deputy showed cowardice twice. The first time when a smallish dog approached him and he was quick to shoot, and the second time when he retreated to his car and waited for backup instead of doing the right thing. At her department, cowardice is an on-the-spot firing offense.

    Compare Dooley’s self-confidence to that of Cesar Milan in the video.

    1. Chuck – cowardice is always in the eye of the beholder. Am I a coward or cautious? And there is also a problem with film in that you only see from one angle, the eyewitness problem. His contention, at this point, is that he was not properly trained, which may be the case as well.

      Cesar Milan is an expert in the field, and I have watched his show. Even he has gotten bitten. Milan spends all days with dogs, Dooley does not. Some people just do not like dogs. They have a pathological fear of them. Surely you can understand that.

  6. Police officers should be trained how to deal with dogs! END OF!!!!!!! What is going on in this country, I’ve never heard of canine homicide anywhere else than US, it is heartbreaking as I am an absolute dog lover….

    1. Eva – it is not uncommon for officers to shot the dogs, this one is worse since he fatally wounded the dog but would not put it out of its misery.

  7. Chuck,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I have waded through comments from here to Facebook and beyond. People think that perhaps the deputy was gun happy. Maybe so. I’m not trying to take sides. Its sad on all accounts. I just think there are more important subjects in America than finding support for a “murdered” dog. I apologize and do not mean to offend.

  8. Furthermore before anyone jumps on their high horse to claim how “ignorant” I am. Keep in mind that it is simply an opinion and apparently everyone is entitled no matter how crappy it is. For those that cant see motivation and only want to “be right” my point is only this, this country has bigger problems. Millions of people are bitten by dogs because they don’t know what a dog will do. No dog ever walks up and says “hi there! I don’t bite” This incident happened very close to where a couple was tried for murder then jailed for years only to be investigated later on that the dog killed the 4 year old little girl. They too were beaten down by people jumping on the bandwagon of hate.

  9. A. Gibson,
    May I respectfully suggest you wade through the comments upstream and pay close attention to Darren’s (career LEO) and Officer Brandi’s comments. They know what they are talking about even if others don’t.

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