Innocent Delaware Dog Murdered by Police in Burglary Chase

 |  Jan 24th 2007  |   3 Contributions


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Are some police officers so afraid of everything now that they have lost their ability to reason through situations? I know there are many great police officers who love dogs and protect them as well as their humans. But more and more we're hearing about these kinds of situations where dogs are killed by police, seemingly with no concern for whether or not its the right thing to do.

Bear was off lead in his own yard when he encountered strangers, including a strange dog, invading his world. He did exactly what he was expected to do -- he tried to protect his person and his home. For that, he was ruthlessly murdered. Note that the police did not kill Bear WHILE he was fighting; he had actually stopped the fight on his own and had turned to go back into his house. He was murdered while he was obeying the police orders!

And these yahoos want to simply apologize! They were under no immediate threat. They were excited and wanted to catch something! The juveniles had outrun them and all they could shoot was Bear! No, an apology doesn't cut it. These guys are dangerous to the public and should lose their jobs.

My sympathies go out to Dorothy.

Fatal shooting of dog by police questioned
By Ben Penserga
Staff Writer

FRUITLAND -- A month after her dog died, Dorothy Huffington still wonders what exactly happened.

On Dec. 23, Fruitland police officers were looking for two juveniles they spotted while fleeing a burglary scene.
During their search, police said Huffington's dog, Bear -- a black labrador-chow chow mix -- fought with the police dog and lunged at officers, forcing a Fruitland police officer to shoot it.


Weeks later, Huffington still harbors confusion about the incident.

"I'm disappointed about what happened and I'm disappointed that I lost my dog," she said.

Huffington said on the day of the shooting, she walked outside of her home with an unrestrained Bear.

The Fruitland resident said she and her dog were surprised to see police in and around their yard.

"I saw the police dog, but not before Bear," she said. "I couldn't hold (Bear) -- they just charged at each other."

Bear went after the police dog on instinct, Huffington said.

"No other dog is usually in my yard," she said. "He was just protecting his property."

The two dogs fought until a police officer fired his gun in the air, Huffington said. Bear than stopped fighting and turned to go back inside with his owner. Police said during the fight, the police dog suffered minor injuries.

As she turned her back to the officers to go inside her house with her dog, police shot Bear, Huffington said.

"He died on the steps," she said.

Police said they felt like Bear -- whose name was due to its large size -- was still a threat to them.

The officer did apologize and other members of the Fruitland Police Department followed up with Huffington about the incident a few days later. Fruitland police said they did eventually find the two burglary suspects they were looking for and charged them.

However, Huffington believes her dog did not have to die.

"I was upset because it was unnecessary," she said.

Fruitland police Capt. George Truitt said recently that they are reviewing the incident, but declined to comment on a specific details.

Though minor in comparison, police shooting and the use of deadly force has drawn more attention on the Delmarva Peninsula recently.

On Dec. 12, Alfred J. Dorsey, 37, of Millsboro was shot after punching a Delaware State trooper and pulling a knife near Seaford. Dorsey, who was serving probation, had just been released from prison after completing two years of an eight-year sentence for racketeering and conspiracy.

Less than a month later, another Delaware State trooper wounded a man during a traffic stop in Hartly when the man appeared to be going for a weapon in his vehicle. The Wilmington man -- who was wanted for weapons violations -- fled but was later found with a revolver.

In October, Darrick Lofland, 34, was shot in the arm by a Maryland State trooper when he struck a Wicomico County Drug Task Force member with his car during a joint drug bust in Dorchester County. The police officers involved were cleared; Lofland was charged with first- and second-degree assault, as well as assault on a police office.

Those incidents have left some residents with questions about the recent spate of shootings.

"It does make you wonder why is this happening," said Ronelle Stewart of Salisbury. "Police need to be more careful."

However, current and former police officers are quick to point out they do not want to use their weapon any more than the public wants them to.

"You have to understand the situations that some of these guys are put in," said Larry Vickers, a former Florida police officer who now lives in Dorchester County. "If a car is coming toward you and you feel like you're in danger, you are just forced to react -- being polite goes at the window at that point."

Huffington confirmed the officer did apologize and Fruitland police followed up with her a few days later about the incident.

And while she still holds a good opinion about the Fruitland police, Huffington said she does think things could have been handled better and wanted to express that.

"It's just the principle of it all," she said.

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