Another Marshall County dog has been killed by a county deputy. This brings the total to at least three family dogs shot and killed by police since 2012.
In August 2012, a Marshall County Iowa Sheriff’s deputy made the decision to shoot Penny the English bulldog when the dog circled his feet and began barking. Penny was on her own property when she was shot in front of her owner Lisa Hurd and Lisa’s three children. Unfortunately, the injury was so severe that Penny had to be euthanized.
According to an article in the Times Republican, Penny was the second dog shot by an officer in 2012. This led Lisa to begin a petition for change in how Marshall County police handle calls involving potentially dangerous dogs.
Change hasn’t come fast enough for the county. Now a third dog, this time a pit bull, is dead at the hands of a Marshall County Sheriff’s deputy. The family is saying their dog Fabio was singled out because he was a pit bull.
Jasmine Anderson told WHO13 News that Fabio was killed because of his breed. That he didn’t pose a danger to deputies or anyone else. Fabio was an older dog who suffered a bit from arthritis. He lay around his yard most of the time when he wasn’t playing with the kids. Fabio left his property twice in the past week, and that’s what Sheriff Ted Kamatchus says got the family dog killed.
When Fabio ran off, he’s allegedly terrorized a few neighbors, who then called the police. Police are saying they used other methods to try and scare the dog off. They blew their car horns and turned on their sirens. It wasn’t until they claim Fabio attacked them that they shot and killed him.
Now the family is devastated at the loss of their family dog. They don’t believe Fabio posed a danger to anyone. And if he did, the police should have had a non-lethal method available of dealing with a dog.
Sheriff Kamatchus told WHO13 “What do you do? Do you become a victim yourself? Do you allow the dog to bite you..tear you up? We don’t allow that. If we feel someone is going to be injured…great bodily harm or death, and that can happen, we take appropriate action.”
Since the Marshall County Sheriff’s office has come under fire in the past for killing family dogs, shouldn’t alternative methods already be in place that officers are required to follow when answering dog-at-large calls?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice guidelines, law enforcement officers are authorized to use deadly force only when it is reasonable and necessary to protect the officer or others from imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another person.
The threat should be real, and not involve “feelings” by the officer. In turn, officers should be provided catch poles or other updated equipment made specifically for dealing with dogs.
This community appears to have a police officer situation where a larger number than average dogs are shot by local police, perhaps better communication between the department and dog owners is needed. Non-lethal dog confinement needs to be taught before even more Marshall County family dogs are killed.
The sheriff has defended his officers in each incident, saying the shooting of a family dog isn’t made lightly. Anderson believe the police over-reacted. The sheriff sympathizes, but says it’s up to dog owners to take responsibility for their pets.
Who do the readers hold responsible in these cases? The police who over-reacted, or the dog owners who for one reason or another had a dog escape their yard.
Anytime a dog leaves the property, there’s always someone waiting to report the dog to police. It also doesn’t seem to matter whether the dog has returned to it’s home by the time police arrive. The majority of dogs killed by police are killed on their own property. Once the call is answered by officers, the dog involved tends to end up dead.
Your comments are welcome.
For more articles by Elisa on dogs shot by police, click here.