I’m not disputing that this dog owner in OK was in the wrong. Edwin Fry had apparently been letting his little Poodle roam and bother neighbors. When authorities seized his dog, called Buddy Tough, Mr. Fry verbally threatened them with violence. Not wanting to pay the $100 fine (second offense) to redeem his dog, Mr. Fry “drove his lawn mower to the town’s kennel, cut through the cage with a large pair of bolt cutters and started home with Buddy Tough on his lap”.
So all that was wrong. But to add a little context, Mr. Fry is 73 years old. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with elderly folks but some of them can be cranky – even to the point of making a threat. While I have no way of knowing if Mr. Fry might have actually followed through on his threat or if it was perhaps the kind of thing he says every other day, it’s possible the local police may know him. That is, they may have an opinion on whether or not Mr. Fry is likely to act out in a violent manner. Given that he rode to the pound on his lawn mower and did not bring his gun with him (which is what he threatened he would do if authorities seized his dog), I tend to think he is not a serious threat to anyone. I could be wrong – I’m not there, I’ve never met the man.
At any rate, clearly Mr. Fry was very disturbed about having his dog seized. And he handled things badly from the outset. You might be inclined to give Mr. Fry a pass or maybe not. I would be interested to see if he might be amenable to using a tie-out or a pen for his dog’s outdoor time. Perhaps you would agree that’s a worthwhile effort or maybe you just think Mr. Fry should be tossed in the slammer. If the latter, you might work for the Hydro police department:
[Hydro police officer Chris] Chancellor said he saw Fry leaving the kennel with the dog, but didn’t stop him right away.
“He’d threatened to shoot us before, so I approached him with caution,” Chancellor said. “I was afraid he might have had a rifle with him.”
Once Fry stopped, Chancellor held him at gunpoint.
“He stood up and had the dog in one arm and dropped the 3-foot bolt cutters he had in the other hand,” Chancellor said.
Fry was arrested on complaints of second-degree burglary, trespassing and destruction of city property. Formal charges were not as stringent.
Fry spent several days in jail. His bail was set at $1,000 requiring a $100 deposit to a bondsman for release, but no one seemed willing to put up the money, Chancellor said.
So here’s the thing: Maybe the police were justified in their actions and thought this 73 year old man driving a lawn mower with a Poodle under his arm presented a credible threat. Or maybe they were just being jerks. Regardless of what side of the fuzzy line you fall on here, there is a tangible tragedy: While Mr. Fry was behind bars, they killed his dog.
This is not a dog that had been accused of biting anyone or suspected of having rabies or anything of the sort. This is just a little Poodle who got picked up for roaming and literally busted out of the pokey by his owner. One minute he’s riding on a lawn mower alongside his master, the next minute he’s being killed by an ACO. His only crime was being owned by someone who allowed him to run loose and who happened to be a crotchety old man. If authorities felt they had grounds to seize the dog and cause the owner to forfeit ownership, they should have proceeded with their case. And then the dog could be adopted out to a new owner and given a chance to be a good canine citizen.
Authorities in this case held Mr. Fry accountable for failing to follow the rules and go through proper channels. Yet at their soonest opportunity, they decide the rules don’t apply to them and kill a helpless dog out of spite. Is anyone holding them accountable?
Thanks to reader Rachel for the tip on this story.