Revenge Killing at OK Pound

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.

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35 Comments

  1. Geez, YB, another beautifully written article. Very nice approach – makes it easy to see both sides of the issue.

    I do believe you hit the nail on the head: that little dog’s execution should not have occurred. Whoever made the unilateral decision should be held accountable. Under what legal authority did they destroy that life?

    Is this how they treat human domestic problems (which is really what this is only with a dog)? If the husband is put in jail do they take the children out and shoot them?

    This is a barbaric bunch of officials in my opinion. Someone needs to remind them of the old title, “public servant.”

    Reply
  2. Parallel

     /  October 25, 2010

    I fail to see how the police are at fault in any fashion. They didn’t kill the dog and they didn’t arrest the owner because he was a “threat” imagined or otherwise…they arrested him because he broke the law. The officer was just doing his job and the man’s age shouldn’t mean he gets a free pass.

    It also sounds like the dog might have had some behavior problems other than roaming- the article mentions someone was hurt trying to get the dog off a porch, which implies to me that he might have been snappy. Maybe not, though…no real way to tell from the information presented.

    Still, I’m not seeing how any blame here can go on the officer.

    Reply
    • The article says the person trying to shoo the dog off his/her porch fell. The dog didn’t snap.
      Do you truly believe it was necessary to hold the man at gunpoint as he attempted to escape on his lawnmower with his Poodle under his arm?

      Reply
      • Parallel

         /  October 25, 2010

        Quite frankly, yes…the officer had reason to think the gentleman could be armed. He had threatened to use a gun, so the officer was quite justified in thinking he might carry through. Even if he was fairly sure he was unarmed, it’s the officer’s life on the line if he turns out to be wrong. Being old doesn’t mean you can’t fire a weapon.

        I have an police officer in the family, and I don’t think people really understand just how stressful it is and how many decisions you have to make, decisions that could result in your own death if you guess incorrectly.

        If you make death threats against people, you don’t really get to be upset when an officer tells you to put your hands in the air.

        Also, I wouldn’t phrase it as the man trying to “escape”. This wasn’t a stealth operation. He was more or less flaunting that he was doing just what he had said he would, so again if I were an officer, that would make me mighty jumpy that he might carry through with the gun aspect as well.

        The only victim here is the dog, and the only bad guys are his jerk of an owner and the ACO who killed him for petty vengeance.

      • It’s unclear to me if they actually have an ACO in this town or of the police just handle it. I said ACO in my post making an assumption but that assumption could be wrong. The wording in the article led me to believe it was possible they had an ACO and possible they did not.

      • Therese

         /  October 25, 2010

        I do believe it was necessary to hold this man at gunpoint. He had threatened to shoot people in the past, according to one news report, he has shot at this wife in the past. If you can pull a trigger, you can shoot and kill someone.

        That said, killing the old guy’s dog was wrong, wrong, wrong and does seem to have been done in retaliation for the “daring” raid. Mr. Fry was afraid that something would happen to his dog and he was apparently right.

  3. Donna Lake

     /  October 25, 2010

    You really are kidding, Why would they kill the mans
    dog?? And if so, Something should be done about this.
    The poor old fart just wanted his buddy, probably all
    he’s got, as far as the officer “why don’t you go after the bad ones”This is CRAZY. I would get an attorney.

    Reply
  4. Why couldn’t they put the dog up for adoption?

    This just sucks all around. I feel bad for the owner, mostly.

    Reply
    • partly because that owner would have hunted down his dog wherever it was…and they didn’t want the liability of protecting the “public” (be they informed or otherwise) from him!? It does suck, but I feel worse for the dog. Is it better to die than lose a friend?

      Reply
  5. This story made me physically ill when I read it and I’m normally definitely not a police basher.

    The man obviously suffers from dementia and has no one who even cares enough about him to bail him out of jail. All he has to love is his little Poodle. Undoubtedly he lived in a time when there were no leash laws. Killing his dog was a despicable act of revenge.

    Reply
    • This was my thought too. It’s very hard for me to believe that the best this town PD could manage is putting a 73 year old man in jail for days for lack of $100 and killing his dog while he’s there.

      Reply
      • Don’t forget that he was already $100 short as that was the “bail” to get his beloved Poodle back and the whole reason he headed down there on his lawn mower (can’t afford a car, or license revoked?!) with a bolt cutter. Better to serve the time and save the funds to get your dog out…oh, but wait, they fixed that plan too, didn’t they? Arghhhh. Poor guy, he can’t win for losing.

  6. debbie bullard

     /  October 25, 2010

    this really makes me angry.
    I am disgusted that they did this to an old mans dog.
    Funny that the old man sprung his dog, but revenge from the shelter thats supposed to keep animals safe, dropped the ball again!

    Reply
    • ezbuddy

       /  July 18, 2011

      I don’t believe these or other cases like this are “mistakes” or “mix-ups”. I believe there are miserable sadist assholes (or 2 of the 3) who are in the position of exerting their “authority” over animals and/or people and get their kicks out of killing. I don’t profess to understand these sick people, I never will & don’t want to, but they are out there among us in positions of authority and shouldn’t be.

      It’s such a shame as they bring so much hurt & sorrow into the lives of good people needlessly but selfishly on purpose. The harm is lifelong to the families & instantainous to the junior family members, their dogs & cats.

      Sometimes I don’t even want to admit to being a member of this “human” race.

      Reply
  7. Susan

     /  October 25, 2010

    My version …

    A high speed chase occurred today on the outskirts of town.
    Cops scratched their heads and chuckled as a Sr Citizen evaded them on a lawnmower after breaking out his best friend from jail … a poodle. After arriving home, Mr. Poodle’s Owner was arrested and taken to jail for breaking and entering where he will be evaluated by human services while awaiting his trial. The poodle is resting comfortably back in animal control awaiting a foster home. We understand he enjoys rides on lawnmowers.

    The original version is just too sad.

    Reply
  8. EmilyS

     /  October 25, 2010

    there’s a story from my state about the cops tazing an old man riding a tractor in a town parade because he wouldn’t obey their orders. I understand cops need to be careful.. but really, we’re seeing more and more out- of- control abuse by cops who have trouble understanding context.

    Reply
    • ezbuddy

       /  July 18, 2011

      It’s becomming a ‘Police’ state. One out of every hundred American citizens are in jail. America has more people in jail than the next two countries put together. More prisons too and building more every day.

      Police departments across the country are hireing ex-war veterans at an alarming rate because of their ability to witness & inflict death upon subjects without blinking an eye,

      The federal government is actively training large groups of ex-war vets in anticipation of civil disorder. They are anticipating something. If the 2012 SHTF episode occurs, the ‘something’ will be happening across the country. It’s almost like police departments & powers that be are slowly breaking us in to the fact we will all be under tighter controls. Prisons are BIG business & the just-us system is getting out of control.

      The truth is out there; stay inside.

      Reply
    • From the article at Therese’s link:

      “City officials say it is policy to euthanize animals after they have been in the city’s custody for three days.”

      Even when they know the dog has an owner who can’t redeem him because he’s in jail where the city placed him after he busted the dog out? Cruel.

      Reply
      • Therese

         /  October 26, 2010

        Amen. It’s not like this dog was an unknown stray.

        Hypothetically, if the old guy had been in a traffic accident while with his dog and hospitalized for more than 3 days would they also have killed the dog when the arbitrary time limit ran out? Cruel indeed.

  9. I’d have fostered that poodle…and I’d have groomed him up and had him clean and fluffy when the old guy got out of the slammer too. I’m so sorry. Why are people so mean and petty and evil?

    Reply
  10. When I first read this article last week, I was enraged!

    It’s an obvious abuse of power IMHO.

    Because I used to be law enforcement, I DO recognize the need to hold the gentleman at gun point until ensuring there were no threats (weapons).

    BUT…with that said. The gentleman is obviously more than just ‘alittle cranky’. My father is the same age and he would never threaten to “shoot police for taking..” his property. Now, he would turn his dog out, not because he’s a lazy man, but because his generation grew up believing that was okay (leash laws are a newer concept, even if they’ve been on the books for decades).

    I can also say that for many elderly people, their pet is all they have that reciprocates their affection(s), and in many cases, all the family they may have. Therefore, I can see WHY this man reacted in the manner he did. He’s alone, he’s elderly, he loves his dog and his dog loves him, and restraining the dog on a tie-out probably is something he grew up believing was abusive or at the very least cruel.

    Police on the other hand are trained to recognize ‘mental-health’ issues. Whether the man is ‘certifiable’ or not, obviously the behavior (riding a lawn mower to the shelter, breaking the dog out, etc) would constitute there were some issues that warrant therapy or supervision (wellness checks by Social workers perhaps?). Law Enforcement has a duty to ‘serve and protect’ (its part of the oath actually). They did NEITHER for this gentleman, and whether they like him, he’s pillar of the community, or not…I’ll assume he pays his taxes and follows most laws and deserves fair treatment.

    I’m still outraged with this apparent ‘revenge’ tactics!

    Reply
  11. The felony charges appear to have been reduced to a single misdemeanor charge – right after they killed the dog apparently and, for which, he was probably released on his own recognizance. They’ve probably dealt with this crotchety old man for decades and likely know he’s no danger of any kind to anyone. “Revenge Killing” is dead on.

    Reply
  12. That is disgusting. Shame on every last one of them.

    Reply
  13. I found what must be The Edwin Fry, just by googling — About 62,700 results (0.16 seconds)
    Phonebook results for edwin fry hydro ok

    Edwin Fry (405) 663-2047 Hydro, OK 73048-0000 Map

    If anyone is in a position to help him sue the pants off the police dept, please let him know. I wonder if Animal Legal Defense orgs have caught wind of this story yet.

    Reply
  14. Susan

     /  October 26, 2010

    If you google the incidence, there’s now several articles up on it. Apparently, there was a kid’s show heifer killed by loose dogs the week before and since then there have been multiple complaints concerning loose dogs per the department, they did not have the time to answer them all.

    I think it would be interesting to find out if *loose dogs* complaints have decreased significantly or stopped completely since the poodle was killed. If so, it seems that Mr Fry may have

    Apparently, this animal control doesn’t have the time to chase loose dog calls either.

    Reply
  15. Heather Higinbotham

     /  October 27, 2010

    it’s so nice for them not to offer the dog for rescue (which we would have taken as we just took a dog last week from a shelter not more than 50 miles of this one) or put the dog for adoption at least? we treat our elderly so poorly in our society it makes me sick… but when i worked at san antonio’s city pound i saw “revenge killings” all of the time but usually it was to get to another employee who fell in love with a certain pet, i’m sure it happens every where with all of these ” animal lovers”

    Reply
  16. Matt

     /  October 28, 2010

    Humans are “superior” animals (or so our egos want us to believe)? Think again.

    A bunch of immature neanderthals work at that pound. You punish the DOG for what the GUY did?

    Grow up and evolve, already.

    Of course many parts of Oklahoma are full of rednecks, who run pounds that SHOOT animals while calling it ‘humane euthanasia’.These stuck in the mud hillbillies still use the “Old Yeller” method.

    Even in a supposed “evolved” (not really) city such as Tulsa, the neanderthals still use the gas chamber at the Tulsa ‘Shelter’, although rumor has it, they are *thinking* of phasing it out.They are still murderers, needle or gas chamber.

    Being shot is “humane”?

    I wonder if the pound operators would think so, if they were at the wrong end of the rifle.

    P.S. The term “redneck”, for ME, is not based on where one lives, but on HOW one lives. I.E. act like a neanderthal by being cruel and murdering animals, and you are a redneck. Not all Oklahomans are rednecks..some are great folks who save animals.

    Rednecks can live in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. So, if you are a midwesterner or southerner, dont take the term personally.

    Reply
  17. Matt

     /  October 28, 2010

    “City officials say it is policy to euthanize animals after they have been in the city’s custody for three days.”

    The City Officials’ policy is to be lethal dumba$$es, and they carry that policy out, to perfection.

    In other words, they are utter failures.

    Reply
  18. ardenwoodpatti

     /  October 30, 2010
    Reply
  19. I am outraged. The old man loved his little dog so much that he was willing to break the law. Why take revenge on the poor little dog? He was innocent. I hear story after story of cops killing little innocent dogs, that I guard my little one so closely, even though he is always on a leash with me when he is outside. I am scared of these crazy cops that can’t think of any better action than killing the innocents. ARRRGGGHHHH!! I am so mad!!!!

    Reply
  20. Call the police station and complain! Make them listen to the angry masses.(405) 663-2242

    Reply
  21. I am glad you posted this article and your thoughts as well. I had done the same as well and I was very upset by the way this was handled and you put it more unbiased than I did. Thank you for posting this issue and I hope that this will never have to happen to anyone else, but sadly I think it will. I am with you that they were probably not a threat to anyone, just 2 males who enjoyed their independence and in this day and time, we are not able to have too many rights of freedom anymore. This story broke my heart, and I feel bad for Mr. Fry.

    Reply
  1. Shepherd : : Buddy Tough, RIP, a nationional disgrace on the face of Hydro and to OKLAHOMA - Dog House

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