The Law Enforcement Wing of the “No One Wants to Kill Animals” Myth

Police officers are paid with tax dollars to protect and to serve.  They are held up as role models for children and supposed to lead by example as law abiding citizens.  In many areas, law enforcement is in charge of animal control.  Two troubling stories from this summer appear to show officers acting in a violent and cruel manner to kill pets who did not represent a threat.  These are but two of many such stories – too many.  No one has been charged in connection with either killing at the time of this post.


The War on Drugs Claims Another Victim:  On July 9, members of the Garland, TX police department and SWAT team executed a no-knock warrant at a home where 3 people were watching television while an elderly mixed breed dog snoozed on the floor.  Law enforcement officials reportedly busted down the door and shot the dog where he lay on the floor.  The raid netted less than one ounce of marijuana.  There is a comment below the story from someone posting as “jessicadpaxton”. The commenter claims to have been present in the home during the raid and that the dog did not die immediately after being shot. (Warning: Details may be too disturbing for sensitive readers.)  The department is conducting the standard internal investigation which takes place whenever a firearm is discharged.


Injured Dog Tortured to Death by Police:  Around 3 am on August 19, a Flagstaff, AZ police officer hit a dog who reportedly ran in front of his patrol car.  The dog appeared to be seriously injured and the officer called his supervisor, Cpl. John Tewes, who went to the scene.  Department policy dictates that a “mortally wounded” animal may be shot to relieve suffering at the discretion of the officer.  The city has an ACO, an emergency vet clinic and a shelter willing to send staff out at any time to assist police in such circumstances.  The shelter director says “that police dispatchers call the shelter regularly with reports of late-night injured animals.”  Despite all these available options, Cpl. Tewes reportedly “bludgeoned, stomped and strangled” the injured dog over a prolonged period of time until the pet finally died.  Cpl. Tewes’ attorney “said his client was not aware at the time of alternatives other than killing the animal in the field himself” and chose not to shoot the dog because it was a residential area.

If you click through to read the full story, be warned that the gruesome details of this dog’s killing are provided.  One of the non-violent details of the story which is nonetheless disturbing:

A neighbor told the Daily Sun her husband came out while the officers were standing with the injured animal and told police where the dog lived. The officers told the witness he should go back into his home.

The Navajo County Attorney must determine whether cruelty charges are warranted in the case.  Apparently, it’s something the attorney needs time to mull over.

25 thoughts on “The Law Enforcement Wing of the “No One Wants to Kill Animals” Myth

  1. And yet I think about the story of the cop who assisted a person with a car that hit a cat – the cat was still alive, but stuck in the underside of the car. He crawled under there in the dark and the wet (it was raining, of course) and took his time (as I recall, it took a LONG time) and gently worked the injured cat free.

    Or the time when I found a very injured deer in the woods behind a neighbor’s house. The officer came out and shot her for me. When he came out of the woods, he shook his head and said that it was a damn shame and he wished there was something else to be done, but with two very badly broken legs, he was glad to be able to end it quickly for her.

    Police are human. Some good, some bad. We expect more from them because they are trained professionals with the power of life and death. But the reality is that not all of them are good people. Not all of them like animals, or children, or women, or other people.

    The accountability for their actions should be more than your average citizen, too. And sometimes it is. Many times it isn’t. I wish I had an answer for that.

    1. I have no doubt there are police officers who are doing their job and doing it well, just as there are animal control officers and other public servants who do the same. The problem is that there appears to be a widespread attitude within these departments that NOT doing the job is acceptable and in fact, doing the opposite of the job is expected. Police shoot pets instead of protect/serve the community. Animal shelter staff abuse and kill pets instead of actually sheltering them. The accountability issues arise out of the fact that the investigations into the failures of these departments are almost always internal.

      1. the statement,, Police shoot pets instead of protect/serve the community. Animal shelter staff abuse and kill pets instead of actually sheltering them…. hits the nail right on the head! Sometimes I find myself wanting to hide my head in the sand. All this just hurt so much. It has to be stopped

      2. @ Peter.. that’s a thought, but I don’t drink. But I do hug my dogs more… when I’m crying, they come to me and comfort me the best they can. I don’t know what I’d do without all my girls (dogs)

    2. COPS kill for sport. THE MAJORITY. You can whip out a ‘feel good’ good cop story… here and there… but overwhelmingly the COPS are there to “mop-up” and “punish”.

      “Service”, “protection”, and God-forbid “CRIME PREVENTION” no longer exist. If the POLICE are investigating a crime that happened to you, it’s only so they can get money from or lock up (same thing) the perp… it has nothing to do with deterence, or helping you.

  2. Law Enforcement Officers are sworn to upnhold ALL laws in their jurisdiction…that ALL laws are equal. My experience however is that Animal Laws are NOT consdered this way in most LE depts. Infact – the majority of the Police and Sheriff Deputies will shoot an animal before even calling an existing Animal Control Department for assistance. The common consensus in my conversations with many is that if a dog is coming toward them and they warn it to stop and it keeps coming I’m not going to risk my safety. I have been on countless calls when Officers literally have their guns drawn and I have walked toward a dog, sat down, talked to it and in 10 mintues had it on a leash and happy. In most departments they receive NO training with or about animals. But simple common sense would dictate actions other than the ones that they use. In many cities it is still only a $25.00 fine for killing a domestic animal – and that fine is for discharging a firearm! There are very few laws that do NOT allow a person to simply say – the dog was acting aggressive and then they are within their rights to kill it. With police officers – they have ALOT more leverage than even a citizen in these incidents. Is it ACCEPTABLE? No. But it’s generallly true. I hope these citizens go forward and push for punishment since they were witnesses.

  3. Well, I have seen many of these stories this summer, but now I am speechless. I cannot even go to the stories and read them, for fear of metatastic depression.

  4. This keeps happening all too much lately. Ive read a few stories like these ones before I even came across this particular post. Police officers need to be re-trained or something if they can not handle the fact that a dog may be present, when THEY are the ones who have a gun to protect themselves and the dog is not presenting any danger.

  5. My personal thought is…… the officer who beat and stomped and strangled that dog should be charged with animal cruelty, that is not an acceptable way to have put that dog “out of it’s misery”, he knows that, I know it and you all know it but it will get swept under the rug as usual. The officer stated he didn’t want to discharge his firearm in a residential area to end that poor animal’s suffering and yet so many charge onto private property and worse, outside of properties in residential settings and have no problem shooting a barking dog and let it lay and suffer.
    Just my own personal thoughts.

  6. In Government positions there are more stringent things that an employee – officer can be charged with such as “Conduct unbecoming an Officer.” Unfortunately this carries more weight many times than Animal Cruelty.

  7. “Cpl. Tewes’ attorney “said his client was not aware at the time of alternatives other than killing the animal in the field himself” and chose not to shoot the dog because it was a residential area.”

    What a load of BS. The article I read when the story came out said that part of the training for Flagstaff officers include what to do during such a situation. This officer was a supervisor. How can he not know policy? And how can he claim to not have been told about this policy during training when other officers do know it? Something’s rotten in FLagstaff, and I hope the truth comes to light and justice served.

  8. So the goal, 25,000 signatures, how to get there networking and sharing, focus through the weekend and this week to get results.
    Thank you all so much.

    Institute Mandatory Training for police officers of non-lethal force in handling our canines family.
    To make it mandatory to institute a non-lethal training for police officers to handle our canine family members which are killed everyday on owners private property which

  9. Flagstaff Officer hits a dog with his car. The dog is injured. A neighbor tells the Officer who owns the dog and where it lives. The Otticer tells the neighbor to go home. Then the Officer decides to KILL the dog by beating it with his Baton. He’s shocked it won’t die so he decides to JUMP on it’s head. 20 to 30 mintues go by and it still won’t die so he strangles it with a cable. and THIS is NOT cruelty? He hit the dog. Call Animal Control. The dog is injured. Call a Vet or the Humane Association. He KNOWS where the dog lives – GO GET THE OWNERS. What is NOT cruel about this??? Let’s hope that the dog’s owner brings a civil suit against the PD.

    1. And within two days he got hired on somewhere in a 40 mile radius. Isn’t that how things work? Once a policeman, law scarcely applies to them at all yet they rigorously enforce it against everyone else. If you spit on the sidewalk it’s a more serious offense than a policeman going from Arizona to New York, and gunning down all the dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club show, and all the lousy hell bound fiend has to say is “I felt threatened.”

  10. Well that saved the department “figuring out” what to do about Cpl. Twes – and I’m sure it saved him any prosecution. When Shirley first posted this article I wrote to the Mayor and the Cheif of the Flagstaff PD. Of course I have heard nothing back. And yet – we see how officers like this continue to get rehired at other PDs or even the same PD like in Memphis.

    1. Still have not received a reply from the Mayor and Chief of the Flagstaff PD. I sent my email – then waited 10 days and resent with added “Second Request” in the subject line. Nothing.

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