Posts tagged Puppycide

The Police Beat: The first sign of a sociopath is torturing animals

Patrolman Terry Lowther. Lakewood Division of Police. Lakewood, Ohio. Otis, a white boxer, got loose from his owner’s house in Lakewood, Ohio early in the morning about a month ago. Now a loose dog can be a problem — for the owner, for the dog, and for innocent bystanders. So when responsible people see a loose dog in their neighborhood, they’ll usually keep their distance, try to keep an eye on it, keep it out of the road, shoo it away from anyone who passes by, and, while they have an eye on it, find the owner to get them to bring the dog to heel and take it back to its home.

Unfortunately for Otis, the first people to encounter him were not responsible people but rather a couple of heavily-armed police officers working for the Lakewood city government, who had made their way into the neighborhood on an unrelated call. So, instead of trying to keep anyone from getting hurt, the cops decided that the situation needed controllin’. They surrounded the dog and started yelling at it and waving their weapons around. After being surrounded by these complete strangers barging into his neighborhood, Otis started barking and backing up defensively. A couple times he tried to run off. The dog posed a threat to exactly nobody, but since it wouldn’t stop barking, and since twitchy government cops have been trained not to consider themselves safe as long as anyone or anything in the vicinity is moving without their permission, rather than waiting the literal 90 seconds that it took for the dog’s owner to get out there, they decided instead to close in on the dog and try to get a noose around its neck. When the dog barked and bristled at the complete strangers moving in to grab it, Patrolman Terry Lowther decided to blast Otis with a 50,000-volt electrical charge from his taser. After the dog tried to stagger to its feet — while it already had a noose around its neck — they blasted him again with a second 50,000-volt electrical charge. Just to be sure, I guess. Then they dragged the senseless dog along the ground over to their patrol car.

Trigger warning. Graphic footage of a dog being tortured and dragged by police officers.

When Otis’s owner showed up — a whole 90 seconds or so after the first taser blast — they hollered at him and gave him a citation for having a dangerous animal and for letting the dog run loose. I guess he’s lucky they just tortured his dog instead of killing it; according to the police report, the only reason consummate professional Patrolman Terry P. Lowther Jr. didn’t just whip out his handgun and shoot Otis dead is that he was afraid that the bullet might ricochet off the blacktop and harm a bystander.

When the story hit the local news, the cops tried to defend this electrical torture of a helpless animal that was already surrounded, did nothing more than bark, and posed no physical danger to anyone, in two ways. First, they made up lies about the dog’s breed — first they claimed it was a pit bull; when the owner contradicted their claim and put out photos of the dog, they claimed that it kinda looked like a pit bull and musta had some pit bull in ’im. Then they tried to spin the story back their way by releasing the video from Patrolman Terry Lowther’s taser-cam — video which they claimed showed the dog acting aggressively and threatening the cops. This seems to have been a serious miscalculation on the city government’s part — since the ideas that twitchy government cops have about what counts as aggressive and threatening is very different from the ideas that civilized people have, and the video didn’t show the dog doing much of anything more than barking. Also, presumably, since most people react poorly to hearing a helpless animal howl in agony and seeing it writhe on the ground while a cop shocks it twice in rapid succession. After the police released the film, it quickly spread through the Internet, and public outrage over the case intensified rather than petering out.

In any case, the city government responded to the situation by using the vicious animal charges to exile Otis and his owner, Daniel Kier, from the city: the city agreed to drop the utterly bogus vicious animal charges against Kier only in exchange for an agreement that he would not sue the Lakewood city government for torturing his dog, and that he would move with Otis out of the city limits (to the city of Cleveland, as it happens). None of the news stories I’ve read on this case have mentioned it, but the vicious animal charge is just a misdemeanor rap for Kier; but since the same law also provides for the impounded vicious animal to be humanely destroyed, I suspect that the reason he was so ready to get it dropped, even if it meant moving out of the city, is because the city government was effectively threatening to kill his dog if he didn’t shut up and accept their terms.

So who are the real vicious animals running loose here? I’m pretty sure it’s not the poor son of a bitch that got tasered.

(Via Brad Taylor 2009-08-04.)

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13 shots to kill a puppy

(Via a private correspondent.)

A couple weeks ago, a government gang in Youngstown, Ohio were chasing some freelance competitors. The suspect young men got out of their car and ran away on foot. One of them ran into Moses and Darcel Gilmore’s house (not, actually, his house, or his family’s; just a nearby house he could get into) and then he ran down into the basement. Three cops charged into the house after him without knocking and without a warrant. When they tried to charge down into basement after him, a 42 pound Akita puppy named Diva, who belonged to the owners of the house, came on up the stairs. (It was trained to expect to be let outside when the basement door opened.) Officer Ryan Laatsch decided to take this as being approached … in an aggressive manner. You might think, especially given that the teenager they were chasing was trapped in a basement and not going anywhere, that three heavily armed, professionally-trained grown-ass men might figure out a way to get around or to calm or to restrain or just to back away from a 42 pound 7 month old puppy so that nobody gets hurt. But, well, Officer Ryan Laatsch was already waving his gun around at the time, so instead he fired off 12 shots into the dog’s body. Then, apparently, he got up close and fired a 13th shot into the dog’s head at point blank range, in order to confirm the kill.

The teenager ran down the basement stairs to hide. When officers opened the basement door from the kitchen, the dog approached Officer [Ryan] Laatsch in an aggressive manner, the police report states.

There were three officers in the house.

Officer Laatsch, who already had service weapon drawn due to the circumstances of the situation, shot approximately five to six times striking the dog … then shot the dog approximately five to six more times …then shot the dog one more time directly in the top of his head from only a few inches away, the report stated.

— Katie Seminara, The Vindicator (2009-04-14): Youngstown police shoot aggressive dog 13 times

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes has defended this on the grounds that Officer Ryan Laatsch fired until the dog ceased to attack (it never started) and in fear for his life and the lives of the other officers (apparently not so afraid that it kept him from getting up close enough to shoot the puppy in the head at point-blank range after he’d already emptied 12 rounds into her body). Police Chief Jimmy Hughes also [doesn’t] know if restitution is in order at this time, because, after all, if the Servants and Protectors were busy saving their own skins from a 7 month old puppy, expecting even an Oops, our bad would really be a bit much.

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