“It’s Just A Dog”: Philadelphia Police Officer Accused Of Speeding and Running Over Dog . . . And Then Preventing Owner From Taking Dog To Hospital

11039948_10205058915705437_1978381456_n8On August 9, a Philadelphia police officer Sgt. Chad Culbreath was allegedly speeding down a street and ran over a woman’s pet dog, Phoebe. Sidara D. Son says that Culbreath refused to let her take her dog to a hospital and allegedly said “it’s just a dog.”

Son quotes Culbreath as saying it “isn’t a child, it’s just a dog.” He then allegedly threatened to arrest her and then called for backup. Five more police vehicles arrived and blocked off her street. “Culbreath’s supervisor, Sgt. Morrow, was one of the back up units. Eventually Son was allowed to take the dog to a hospital but she died in her arms.

The dog apparently got away from someone holding her leash and the officer was accused of not just hitting the dog but almost hitting someone running after her. The accident itself may not present much of a liability issue if the dog was off leash. However, the actions of the police after the accident could be a potential basis for a tort lawsuit. While the law still does values pets as chattel or property, the pain and suffering inflicted by such alleged misconduct could be considerable for a jury.

As someone who lost a beloved family dog in a car accident, the account is incredibly disturbing. Putting aside what was said, if the police refused to let the family take the dog to a hospital, I would seriously question his fitness to serve as an officer.

If these allegation are shown to be true, what do you think the appropriate punishment should be?



Kudos: Michael Blott

33 thoughts on ““It’s Just A Dog”: Philadelphia Police Officer Accused Of Speeding and Running Over Dog . . . And Then Preventing Owner From Taking Dog To Hospital”

  1. Paul C. Schulte – Although it looks like my earlier comment has been dropped or removed, I wanted to say thank you for your response and confirm I am so impressed by your empathetic actions taken for the neighbor’s loss of their beloved cat. We know how dogs will be dogs which involves a variety of behaviors and as you say, being territorial over their own yard would be high on that list.

    Even though there are so many events of callousness or ill-served behavior on the part of police who more brutally interface with the public, at least there are folks like you who are doing what they can, one on one, to mitigate or lessen the angst of what was a less avoidable altercation between two domestic pets; all for sake of ‘caring enough’ for your fellow kind.

    In my book, there is something twisted or perverse about anyone, especially those trained, who think that any living creature “is just” whatever…or, if not a human, somehow possesses less value or is any less valued by its adoptive caretaker. Again, in the tragic instance that J. T. describes, the emotionally detached officer is not fit for public interface…and with all sincerity, good on you.

  2. This story sounds really strange. Why would a police officer prevent someone from taking her dog to a vet? Did he want it to just lie in the street? Was there a crime going on at the time and he’d blocked off the street? Did he not want to let her leave because she attacked him for killing her dog so he was arresting her?

    I would get pretty upset if one of my dogs was hit by a car. This needs to be investigated.

  3. I’m with wonderer on this one, not enough detail to comment. But if there are enough witnesses, it will come out.
    On the other hand we have had a officer shoot a dog, he then goes to another dept and ends up shooting another dog! (Both in their OWN YARDS!)
    A citizen committee finds enough for a investigation, but somehow the chief of police steps in and shuts it down!

  4. Well, it is impossible to fire, and keep fired, Pennsylvania cops. Mediators often reverse cities after they are fired. It is awful and the law in that state must change.

  5. Arvilla – my vet has pamphlets on grieving for your pet. I took some to my neighbor after my dog killed one of his cats that got in the yard. (The dog is fast and territorial). I paid to have his pet cremated.

  6. There were pictures of how the inside of police cars looked after a dog left in the car and the heat and lack of air. The interior was torn apart as these dogs attempted escape. Worse people saw them and didn’t know what to do! How about calling 911!

    Actually, those kids should be taken to pick out a rescue dog. Those dogs are so loving and happy to leave those horrible cages. They are chipped, neutered or spayed and current on shots. Losing a dog, especially so horribly, is so hard on children. I got a dog from a shelter. They pick you. You spend time with them in special rooms.

    The police should pay any fees and also for obedience classes.ihavetears just writing this

    1. Sandi Hemmings – I have a rescue and if they did that to her there would be hell to pay. First, no cop is telling not to take the dog to the vets. Second, a sergeant will meet me there and explain the procedures for making a claim against the P.D. Third, how to file a complaint against the officer.

      1. Letting my dog lie in pain would not be an option. Not being there, I don’t know what I would do, but I would do whatever I had to. But she would get care ASAP, even if I had to kick the guy in the balls, steal the police car, anything! The pictures show a very special dog.

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