State Police Shoot Dog

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jennifer L., Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    New York bordering Ontario
    Hi, just some back ground, I'm a small dairy farmer and live alone. I've got four dogs right now, an older Border Collie, a new to me 4 YO mix from the pound, a German Shepherd not yet 10 months old, and a 7 week old Yellow Lab.

    Last Sunday morning at 3:30 AM, the dogs woke me up barking and disappeared out of the bedroom and ran out the dog door. There were car lights on the bedroom wall which means "cow out" to a dairy farmer. I looked out the window and saw a vehicle with a lot of lights on it and knew it was cops. I don't like to go out for just anyone that time of night, but if it's police, I figure that's ok. So I got dressed quick, went out to the kitchen and opened up the door to the garage and hit the garage door opener. When the door was a few feet in the air, I heard two loud "pops" and never having heard a handgun go off before, I thought something had fallen and broken when the garage door was going up. Meanwhile, I'm crossing the garage while the door is opening and when I got to the front of the garage the state trooper identified himself and said "Ma'm, I just shot a German Shepherd" with words to the effect that the dog ran around the corner of the garage "showing his teeth" and he thought he had no choice but to shoot the dog. Long story short, he hit the dog twice, one bullet grazing his skull and the other bullet went through his neck and didn't hit anything major. So I took the dog to the vet and had him sewed up. When I got back, I found out that a stray bullet had gone the garage door window, hit the garage ceiling and came down at the back of the garage, not really far at all from where I had been. The second thing I found out, is that they won't pay for the emergency vet bill on the dog. ($400) although they will pay for the window ($18), since it was justifiable to shoot the dog if you think he is attacking, but the window was damage done in error, I guess you could say.

    They were there until 7 AM when I got back from the vet (a Trooper followed me to the vet's, waited for me and followed me back home) and then a few hours later were back to find the unrecovered bullet that had gone through my garage door window. They treated the whole thing very seriously.

    If anyone else came on my property and shot my dog, no matter why they were there, and caused me that kind of bill, they'd pay. It's the decent thing to do. And if my dog had REALLY run around the house with intent to get the officer, I wouldn't mind paying the bill myself. But he's not even ten months old yet, and he doesn't have a mean bone in his body that I've ever observed. He was running around the house to see what was going on, and with his history, would have been leaping around the guy with his ears back wanting to play.

    The Troopers were really, really nice about the whole thing. And I respect the NYS Troopers and don't want to cause any trouble, most especially for the guy who did the shooting: He's only been on the job two weeks and was an urban cop in Rochester, NY before this, for six years.. No reason to put any mark on his career that I can help. BUT. I think I deserve to have them pay the vet bill.

    What does everyone else think? Should I consider a lawyer if they aren't forthcoming with the reimbursement for the vet bill?

    Oh, and yes, they were stopping because there was a cow out.

  2. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    It's gonna cost you more than $400 to hire a lawyer to sue them. Not worth it.

    Was the dog roaming free, or did the officer enter a fence or something?

  3. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    I'd call the animal rights people, The local paper, The local tv station. Everyone I could to show what a "man eater" the police felt like stopping. A 10 month old pup isn't even big yet. This guy needs to learn restraint.
  4. FreightTrain

    FreightTrain Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2005
    Sullivan County Pa
    i agree, call everyone, this john wayne cop could have killd you and may yet kill someone else..
  5. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Hi Jen,

    It is not the NYS Troopers policy to shoot dogs. I think I would talk to the Zone Commander(Captain) or Troop Commander (Major) and express your concern. The fact that the bullet went into the garage when you were entering concerns me and will concern them.

    Now it is Rochester Police Department Policy to Shoot dogs and this Recruit needs to learn that rural policemen (Troopers) do not shoot dogs unless they are being actively aggressive. I believe that if you talk to His Captain the Vet bill will be paid.

  6. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    why were the cops there in the first place...
  7. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 20, 2004
    Because a cow was out.

    This guy has only been on duty two weeks and you don't want to cause him to have a bad mark on his record? What happens when Mr. Trigger Happy accidently kills someone?

    I think it's your responsibility to talk to his supervisors and anyone else you need to talk to. This guy obviously isn't ready for street duty and is a danger to others. You're not the one causing him to have a bad mark on his record...that was his doing. You're the one that might save some innocent bystander next time this guy decides to shoot towards a residence at a puppy.

    And yes, he should also be held responsible for the vet bill. Thank goodness you and/or the puppy weren't killed!
  8. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 13, 2004
    Middle of nowhere along the Rim, Arizona
    If the officer can't tell the difference between a dog coming at him in play and a dog that's aggressive, he needs a black mark on his record. Realistically, if he's a rural cop, he's going to have to deal with loose dogs defending property on a daily basis. What's he going to do, shoot ALL of them?

    Cops NEED the ability to read the intentions of a dog as part of their job. I've had two dogs of mine corner a cop who was coming to my door in the wee hours doing a door-to-door search. The cop was savvy enough to stand still and yell for me to call them off. He didn't even pepper spray them, though he had the pepper spray out. He understood dogs, and knew as long as HE didn't move any closer to the house, they were just going to hold him in a corner of the yard until I called them off. I was pretty happy with the cop for that. (And one of the dogs had actually bitten a burglar, so these were not "playful" dogs.)

    However, on the flip side ... at about ten months, your GSD is probably big enough to look threatening. He's also an adolescent, which means he may indeed start showing aggression that you've not seen before. And in the early AM hours, he comes around the corner and sees a guy in a uniform, with a scary looking car, the cop is probably giving off "aggressive" vibes to the dog because of the officer's body language, maybe the officer's radio is making funny noises, and the other dogs are barking, and things are just WRONG to the dog, and ... yeah, your normally friendly, lovey puppy could've charged the cop.

    My old aussie -- now passed away and sorely missed -- was absolutely bombproof around all sorts of people. I could take her anywhere -- this dog never so much as showed a mean tooth to little kids, mentally handicapped adults, other animals, nothing. Totally unflappable. Friendly as could be. Yet I know of three times when she snapped -- once was a druggie that approached us with likely bad intentions when me and my mom were camping, she treed him up a cliff. Once, I came home to find a back door's window broken, and obvious bloody signs where the dog had bit the burglar. Both of those were justified. But she also treed a new meterman ... because he just seemed "wrong" to her. He opened the door and waltzed into the yard exuding too much confidence and not enough apology for invading her territory, and she decided he was trouble, and she treed him right up an olive tree.

    Soooo ... even the best dogs have their moments.

  9. Paranoid

    Paranoid Homebrewed Happiness

    Oct 29, 2004
    what the hell were they on your property for?
  10. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Police protocal usually calls for the cop to remain in his car when entering farm property with farm dogs when the reason is "friendly business" until the farmer comes outside, especially in the middle of the night! Getting out and shooting your dog should only be done if they are serving a felony warrant or arresting someone.

    The fact that a bullet passed through an inhabited interior space is a pretty serious public safety violation. Had you been hit, the officer would be facing serious charges so there still be serious consequences for this officer. I would demand he undergo retraining in protocol and firearms safety.

    Of course they wish to downplay the episode, they do not wish have their boat rocked or get sued for incompetence. I don't think you need a lawyer, you need the politicians in charge of these yahoos to take care of it.
  11. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2005
    Near Walhalla Michigan
    No Lawyer! ..why should they make money off other people's misfortune? As has already been suggested..take the matter up with those higher up the department chain of command.

    That said..a police officer should NEVER shoot a firearm without absolutely knowing where the bullet may go..YOU COULD HAVE BEEN SHOT!

    All police officer shootings are supposed to be fully what reprimand did this officer receive from the department for reckless shooting?

    I am glad your dog survived..and that you didn't get shot. Heaven forbid if you had had a young child walking with you and the child was inadvertedly hit by that bullet.

  12. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

    May 14, 2002
    W. Washington State
    Oh no, I'm glad you and your dog are ok!
  13. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

    Jun 22, 2004
    CA (Northern)
    Jennifer, I'm a very strong support of the police and understand they can make mistakes, but that does not relieve them of responsibility for their mistakes. They cannot declare something a justifiable shoot without an investigation, the officers envolved don't get to be their own judge and jury, you can ask for an investigation anytime a gun is fired by an officer. From your side of the story, I would say that the PD's insurance should be on the hook for your vet bill, and that bill would be less that the cost of an investigation to them if you press it. If the shooter has only been on the job for a couple of weeks he clearly needs more training as he has already shown himself to be too trigger happy for the position without more training. Failure to give him that black mark early in his career can lead to an officer how considers himself above the rules later in his career. Better to fix it now before someone has to pay a higher price for his inexperience. You are not looking to end his career, but you shouldn't pay for his error either.

    P.S. Glad to hear that you and your dog are OK out of the incident.
  14. cathyharrell

    cathyharrell Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2003
    I am so glad your dog is going to be okay. It sounds like that policeman is afraid of dogs and not a dog person. It would be nice of them to pay the bill. If it were me I would think it was my duty to pay.
  15. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    You are being WAY too easy going in this situation. I have met a lot of cops, including NYPD who have never fired a shot in their entire career. Two weeks into his career, this guy enters your property in the middle of the night, and puts two rounds in a puppy for no reason. Sorry, but that isn't acceptable, or professional, in the least, and needs to be addressed. Of course, the officer and every one of his superiors are going to be very, very, nice about this situation. They are probably praying that you are not going to contact a local paper, or even worse a regional TV station. The last outcome they want, is having to explain, on the morning news, how one of their "bravest" shot a puppy, and put a round into a house on a loose cow call. Getting paid would be a secondary concern. I think that the problem is far more serious than a vet bill. What if you had rounded the corner and startled him? You think you could get two rounds removed from your hide for 400 bucks?
  16. Ranchermom

    Ranchermom Sam at the Pecan Ranch

    Oct 25, 2005
    South Texas
    I would report it too especially to see if you get the money for the vet bill bluff them with a lawyer if you have too.

    Sorry to hear about your dog hope he's doing well.

  17. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

    Nov 15, 2004
    Upstate NY
    I agree! You are being way too easy on them! Your dog was doing what he was suposed to do. And what if you hadn't been alone and there were others, standing in that garage? It makes me mad to think that he will get away with shooting a dog - because you know if it had been a person he wouldn't be getting away with it. And yes, they are going to be very nice to you, because they are afraid of what you might do. I would write a letter to the editor of my newspaper right now. :mad:
  18. Lawbag

    Lawbag Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2005
    Yes, you should get a lawyer. It probably won't come to an lawsuit if handled properly. Besides actual vet bills, you should ask for any legal fees and costs you incur collecting the vet bills. Also contact your local mayor or city council and state representative's and state senator's offices, tell them your story, and let them know your concerns about this type of action by the police. Make sure the other farmers in the area know what happened also.

    This new cop needs a black mark. Personally I would make sure he gets fired, but that's just me. He's obviously trigger happy and stupid. Even if there was cow out doesn't mean he can come onto your private property in the middle of the night and shoot your animals. He should have stayed in the car until someone came to see why he was there or radioed headquarters to look up your phone number and called you if you didn't come out.

    If it were me, I'd put up gates with locks and notify the police that they had better never set foot on my property without a search warrant or a 911 call coming from inside my house again. If there's an animal out, they could call me on the phone.
  19. Ed0517

    Ed0517 Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2005
    Let's see.... he shot a puppy and fired into an OCCUPIED garage on a lost cow call? And you want him to skate free and clear? What if the next shot he puts into a house kills someone? Want that on your conscience? Cop? He should not be allowed to carry ANY gun.

    He's lucky his commander did not wake up to that on the morning news. If you don't want a lawyer, call his commander, and tell them if the bill is not paid in full by COB Friday you will be filing a complaint, and talking to the local TV station for a human interest piece. Let him see if Rochester will take him back - if he didn't have a bad rep there too.

    What was the range when he fired? Was the dog right on him?

    Though a GSD can be big by then - on her last puppy check, on the day she turned 7 months, mine was 69.6 pounds.
  20. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2005
    Please--do not let this drop! You might very well be saving a human life by making all the noise possible to every place in the media. TV, radio, newspapers and lawsuit too. If he is that trigger happy then he is a real danger to society. Of course he would say that your puppy was ready to attack him---lying was his only defense. And to shoot close to and in the direction of a residence especially without knowing where everyone was located in that residence is totally wrong even/especially for a cop. Of course they will try everything to get out of the responsibility of paying for the vet bills---to pay would assign him the responsibility for his shooting your puppy. Remember--the cops are all members of a brotherhood and will go to all lengths to protect each other. Most cops are good people but a few others slip in too. We had one who came up our driveway with this great big attitude. He was investigating something that happened in our area and was going door to door. Our Banty Rooster was hanging around just in case someone happened to drop food when the cop spotted him. His hand went to his gun and he told us he would shoot that rooster if it attacked him. I picked up the rooster and held him while the cop asked his questions only putting him down after the cop left. Looked to us like that cop was itching to use his gun. Several months later we read in the paper that he was no longer a cop because of an "incident". We also heard that someone was killed in that incident. Another time we were awakened late at night to loud shouting and the noise of a fight in our kitchen. DS had been sitting at the table working on a small motor for his boss when he saw a flashlight go past the window. We live way off the road so someone around the house like that usually means trouble. DS got his .357 Magnum loaded with copperjackets and snuck over to the door holding his gun muzzle upwards. He pulled the curtain aside and saw a black man with a gun looking back at him, almost nose to nose. The door exploded as the man busted into our kitchen. He was a state cop but did not identify himself as one. Thank God DS saw the uniform and dropped the gun putting his hands up shouting something I couldn't understand. The cop kept yelling and held the muzzle of his gun under DS's chin pinning him against the wall. DH and I didn't know who was in the house so he got up, rapidly threw on his pants and ran out there. I got dressed and (oops!) let the dogs out of the room. Things quickly calmed down when he saw that we had been asleep and what DS had been doing. We asked him to go outside because I had turned loose the dogs and they were not happy. All went well from there. A drugged up neighbor looking for some entertainment had called in a shootout in progress but it clearly wasn't. The cops at the barracks were very familiar with our neighbor's stunts so sent a new recruit with only a couple of weeks on the job to handle it. He was a very nice man, but if he had been trigger happy I don't want to think about what could have happened! Thankfully he was not and all was ok. Everyone was quite shaken up but ok. That was the last time our neighbor pulled something using the state police! By the way---that man the last time I heard was a well respected state cop. They are supposed to protect us not show up in the middle of the night and shoot puppies!