America doesn’t have a police problem — our biggest problem is the denial of a police problem. The latest incident of police officers acting like hooligans they’re supposed protect us from comes to us from Missouri, where a police chief resigned after he shot and killed an innocent, caged dog at a police gun range.
Police and dogs don’t get along well, and this story is the archetypal example of why. Chief Andrew Spencer reportedly found a puppy while it was running free and managed to cage it. And then, he took the puppet to a firing range and killed it, because he didn’t want to find its home.
Spencer wrote in his report he planned to take the puppy to a shelter where it would be “destroyed,” but he got another call and he decided to do it himself. From the Springfield News-Leader report:
Spencer then tried and failed to find a shelter to take the animal, and decided that he would need to locate “the cheapest vet to destroy the dog at the cost of the city.” The report then says that while attempting to contact a veterinarian, Spencer was dispatched to a rollover crash at Sparta High School.
“Due to the higher priority call and the imminent destruction of the dog,” Spencer writes in the report, “I decided it was best to destroy the dog and respond to the accident.”
The report said Spencer then took the dog to the department’s firing range, where he shot it once in the head before responding to the rollover crash. He later returned and buried the dog, the report said.
Spencer claimed the dog was charging people in the neighborhood, but he noted he didn’t think the dog bit anyone.
According to Harry Styron, the city attorney for Sparta, Missouri, stray dogs are supposed to be held for five days after they’re picked up, not immediately shot in the head. The dog was not a threat when Spencer shot it; it was reportedly still in a cage.
The owner of the dog was understandably upset; while Spencer killed the dog, the puppy’s owner, Elizabeth Womack, was looking all over town for the animal. Womack said if Spencer had been more patient and compassionate, then he would’ve found the animal’s family.
Of course, it’s not like police were a big help anyway. Womack later noted in a Facebook post the police lied to her on several occasions about the incident. It was only after repeated tries the police told her the chief shot her dog, and the police would identify him if the family wanted to go dig him up. She’s since started a Facebook group, called “The Story of Chase,” which she named after her puppy and details her attempts to get justice.
“The only reason our dog would charge at anybody would be to play,” Elizabeth said. “He was just such a playful little pup. He had no aggression. He didn’t know what that was.”
Feature image via Facebook