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Dog killed by police officer wasn’t vicious



Editor:

A Buckeye Lake police report from Sgt. Andy Davis (in last week’s Beacon) depicts an incident on August 19th as two vicious pit bulls roaming the streets of Buckeye Lake! He leads you to believe AGGRESSIVE PITBULLS is the reason for him to shoot and kill one of these dogs. BUT…

Neither dog was a pitbull. In fact, the dog that was shot and killed was a lab mix and belonged to a child. Both dogs were house pets and were being watched by an adult sibling of the owner while the owner(s) were out of town on vacation. The dogs got loose from an outside kennel (that was new to them) where they had been put while someone was working on the house.

Before Davis arrived at the scene, a woman had stopped and was coaxing the dog (that was later killed) into her car. She was within two inches of this dog and never saw any aggression. She told me there was “No aggression, no teeth, no growling, not a sound.” She was told by neighbors to not let the dog in her car because the police and dog warden had been called.

Davis’ report/statement says he was in the office with a citizen when he received three calls about two pitbulls outside a woman’s house acting aggressive. I believe all three calls were from the same person because Davis also told me that the woman had called back and was hurrying him because she was late for work. The citizen that was in the office at the time the calls came in also wrote a statement. But that statement doesn’t mention “aggressive” or “pitbulls”. Her statement only says that she was in the office when the officer received calls about dogs running loose.

Davis’ report says he told the caller that he would call the pound. But Davis told me he called and they didn’t answer the phone. (This was about 4:30 p.m. and I thought everyone knew that the pound won’t answer the phone after 4 o’clock. A police officer certainly should know that you have to contact the Sheriff’s Office after 4 pm if you need the pound.) Regardless, the pound showed up AFTER Davis killed the dog. Did he call them before he killed the dog? I believe he did because I can’t imagine they would show up after hours to pick up a dead dog.

I believe this shooting could have been avoided had Davis done ANY of the following:

1.) Waited a few minutes for the pound;

2.) Waited two minutes for me and my friend who were on our way; or

3.) Waited one minute for the neighbor who was coming around the side of the house to get both dogs.

I complained to Chief Hanzey that certainly this is not the protocol when you get an animal call…especially if it really is about “vicious” dogs. He thinks Davis followed proper protocol (big surprise). I believe that Davis should have gone to the address and waited on the pound. The dog warden has catch poles and could have taken the dogs alive even if they really were aggressive. Pulling a gun to shoot ANYTHING should be the absolute last resort…especially in residential areas.

We, as citizens and taxpayers, deserve to have professional, respectful police officers in our community and that professionalism and respect should be extended to our pets. I have worked with animals long enough to know that a barking dog is almost never a vicious dog; a dog running towards you is almost never a vicious dog. When dogs are out of their element (homes) they are more than likely afraid. A gentle voice and compassion goes a long, long way. These dogs were in front of their own home but they had been in a strange, new kennel outside of their home and their owners were away.

Sgt. Davis is the same police officer that I had wrote about last year after finding that he had been “re-hired” by Buckeye Lake. He was a Buckeye Lake Police officer when he was arrested for 19 counts of poaching in 2005 (for which he was fined, lost hunting privileges for 5 years and spent some time in jail). He is also a taxidermist and son-in-law of former Police Chief Ron Small. Davis’ arrest and criminal charges made the Fall 2005 edition of ODNR’s Division of Wildlife’s Wild Ohio!

Davis isn’t the only Buckeye Lake police officer who isn’t animal friendly. The department also has another officer who was caught (nearly 2 years ago) dumping a cat that he had trapped on a back road in the Newark area.

More to come ….

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake



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