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

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 13 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.

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 replies to The Police Beat: The first sign of a sociopath is torturing animals Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. John Markley

    “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…”

    This jumped out at me. I have to wonder if they were actively trying to agitate the animal; I could have told them when I was 5 years old that if you saw a stray dog, yelling at it and flailing your limbs about while simultaneously cutting off all its avenues of retreat was a really, really stupid thing to do.

  2. Brock

    It’s too late at night for the visceral reaction I got from the second burst (not to say the first wasn’t horrifying, if nothing else for the length).

  3. Anna Morgenstern

    John, I’m pretty sure they were, actually. It’s a good point. As police officers, they are likely pretty savvy about mammalian reactions. They wanted to create an excuse to dominate/torture the dog, which they saw as a threat to their EGO.

  4. JOR

    Personally, I’d trade the life of every police officer in the world to save the meanest, most vicious maneating dog from a smack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

    Dead fucking serious.

  5. Discussed at www.theagitator.com

    The Agitator » Blog Archive » Sunday Morning Links:

    […] quite puppycide, but agonizing to watch. Again, I can’t understand why more police departments don’t give their officers […]

  6. jb

    Do not call this “animal cruelty.”

    “Animal cruelty” is turning a human being into a cop.

    ‘Nuff said.

  7. Don Cordell

    Wait until they surround citizens with the same agenda of control. This is coming as they round us up for Detention Centers, for disrupting the city by illegal demonstrations against us being subjected to tyranny by Obama’s goons. While our nations police are being educated as to how to establish Martial Law, to control unrulely citizens. Or we just surrender now, and go to Relocation Camps, guarded by the Military being trained how to take control of civilians under military guard. Tazers for all, unless you submit peacefully. Do you think our Military would actually shoot us, if we refuse direct orders? Thats what they are being trained to do. And you thought our Bill of Rights protected us? Fools. Gone are First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eight Amendments. Now shut up, your Government knows best, and does not need any feedback (Complaints) from you.

  8. D

    Don, Atleast we won’t have to quarter any military in our homes!

  9. Roderick T. Long

    And we still have the 11th Amendment!

— 2010 —

  1. Get real

    Have you ever been bit by a pit bull?

    If so, you would be thanking this cop for protecting the people.

  2. Kat

    Tasering a dog merely barking at strangers and tasering it again after it’s been restrained is akin to “protecting the people”?

  3. Rad Geek

    Get real,

    1. The dog wasn’t a pit bull.

    2. Even if the dog were a pit bull (which it is not), that wouldn’t justify escalating a confrontation with it. (In fact, that would seem to me a good reason not to.) Nor does it justify torturing the dog with electricity when it didn’t pose a physical danger to any other living being, and when they could have waited literally 90 seconds for the owner to get out there to call his dog to heel.

    3. Have you ever been tasered by a police?

    If so, you might have a different notion of what getting protected by government police feels like.

    Given that aggressive, out-of-control police kill, injure and maim far more people every year than pit bulls do, I know what kind of public menace I’m most worried about.

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