Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Don't shoot a police dog in South Carolina

You better not shoot and kill a police dog in South Carolina.

Not convinced?

Ask the 24-year-old man who recently pleaded guilty in Columbia, S.C., to five counts of attempted murder (on police officers who pursued him for nine hours). He also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful killing of a police dog.

He escaped going to trial and risking a sentence of life in prison without parole.

But now the dog killer has to do 35 miserable years in prison. They should hold him in his cell on a tight leash.

Seems that during the police pursuit of the gutless, heartless dog killer, Fargo (the police dog) bit him and tried to hold on to him.

Fargo was a tough, determined, fearless dog—devoted to helping protect the public—but even he could not sustain two gunshots.

And what did the thoroughly useless, soulless piece of human flesh say about Fargo when (sniveling) he faced the judge who sentenced him?

“Being bit by a dog, I did freak out and I did shoot at the dog. I just ask that you accept my apology. It was never my intention to go out that night and shoot at officers and have a shootout.”

And then there’s the sad, intriguing story about a dog gunned down at a residence in Rock Hill, S.C., on New Year’s night.

And guess who did the gunning down?

A police officer.

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what happened.

But it appears to be a he said/they said situation.

The “he” (the police officer) said he responded to a call that evening of some sort of disturbance/loud noise at a private residence.

The officer said he walked around to the back yard because that’s where he thought the loud music was coming from.

In his defense, I’ll bet it was dark back there and the officer was tense.

Two pit bulls charged toward him, he wrote in his report. One of the dogs ran away from him when he began yelling, he wrote, but the other canine charged him, causing him to shoot it twice.

People at the New Year’s Eve party at that house then became upset and started yelling, and the officer became even tenser. He called for backup.

Picture the scene.

Rocky, the 85-pound red nosed, loveable pit bull that had been shot, is yelping and squalling and writhing in pain from his gunshot wounds. He is clinging to life. People are kneeling next to the dog—petting it, whispering words of encouragement for it, praying for it.

And some are downright angry that the dog had been shot in the first place. They put down their champagne and pause in their merriment and give the police the evil eye.

“I think the officer was afraid that he would get bit,” one man there that night said. “He could’ve reacted a whole lot different.”

Family and friends scooped Rocky up and rushed him to a veterinarian in Charlotte. But it was to no avail. Rocky, severely wounded, was too far gone. He had to be euthanized.

His owner and the family are devastated.

How much so?

“I would have taken the bullet for this dog,” said the heartsick owner, who buried Rocky in his backyard. “My dog did the right thing.

“I would just like see him stop shooting animals,” he said about the officer. “I’m sure he’s saved more lives than he’s taken, but this was a life that did not need to be taken.”

Meanwhile, the police say they regret what happened but that the officer had no choice.

An executive officer in the department defends what the officer did that tragic night: “He (the shooter) feels bad about it. We don’t want to (shoot dogs), but our officers don’t want to get hurt deciding if the dogs will bite or not. We don’t let dogs bite us.”

I have a feeling this isn’t the end of this sad dog story. But however it ultimately plays out, that family will never get over having their dog shot in cold blood.

By Rock Hill’s finest, no less.

Rest in peace, Rocky.

Note: Some material from this blog post came from stories published in early January 2014 in The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald and The Charlotte Observer.