VA ACO Enters Private Property, Shoots Family Dog to Death

Axel with sleeping child, as posted on Facebook.

Sharon McGein’s 18 month old Lab called Axel allegedly ran after a 17 year old boy exiting a school bus in Charles City Co, VA last week.  A neighbor shooed Axel home to the family farm.  The teen’s mother called AC and an ACO responded, taking the teen with him to the farm to identify Axel, opening a closed gate along the way:

[ACO Franklin] Bates claimed he shot Axel because Axel charged at him. But, McGein said Axel was provoked.

“He told my daughter he stomped at the dog, and the dog went back 10-foot, turned around and barked at him,” McGein said.

ACO Bates shot Axel in the face then apparently felt the dog was still an imminent threat so shot him in the face again.  Apparently the ACO still believed Axel posed an imminent danger and shot him in the face a third time.  He left without leaving a note for the owners and took Axel’s body to the county freezer.

ACO Bates contacted the McGein family the next day to advise them their pet had been killed.  The family requested Axel’s collar and tags be returned.  They were not on Axel’s body and the collar was in fact broken, laying inside the ACO’s truck.

Axel’s family attempted to file animal cruelty charges with the magistrate but was denied.  The magistrate said the ACO was acting in an official capacity when he shot Axel the first time, the second time and the third time.

Charles City County Sheriff’s Captain Jayson Crawley wrote McGein’s daughter about the incident with Bates. Crawley said he wrote the email — not as a county employee — but as a private citizen.

“I am tired of seeing the unprofessional and lack of supervision in which he [Bates] has shown ever since I have known him,” Crawley wrote in the email to McGein.

The McGein family has set up a Facebook page in Axel’s memory and is asking for other county residents who have had dealings with ACO Bates to contact them.  (Note:  Some of the material in this post was sourced from the family’s postings on this Facebook page.)

Thank you Clarice for alerting me to this story.

20 thoughts on “VA ACO Enters Private Property, Shoots Family Dog to Death

  1. The poor dog did not hurt anyone….and got shot for being a lab who always looks for a play date…..stupid people….isn’t there anything we can do about senseless killing of animals….I posted to their RIP site as well…..and I follow you about MAS TN… should be hoed out and the people who work there should a tortured…….WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT this stuff…..????

  2. So, did he execute this dog in front of the teen he brought along for identification?

    Did he ever knock on the door or try to contact the family? Because it sounds like he was on a mission to kill the dog from the start.

    1. “Because it sounds like he was on a mission to kill the dog from the start.” – But… but… he’s an animal control officer – he must love animals! Nobody WANTS to kill animals, right?

      1. Well, someone on the FB page said that he threatened to shoot their horse, so….

        Yeah, I’m totally sure he loves animals and absolutely had no choice but to shoot a barking dog who could be startled away by stomping the ground. And then had to shoot him two more times.

  3. Oh myyyyy ! :/
    so is the ‘private citizen’ email to the daughter expressing the sentiments that the A/C is rogue and trigger happy? I’ve had a different experience w/the A/C officers in Loudoun County — still not good but there’d be HELL to pay if they came onto my fenced property and shot my dog! 3 times ?!? In the FACE? That is BEYOND cruel – the pain and suffering that dog must have endured is unimaginable. My heart goes out to the family. RIP Axel. Apparently, the lust to murder animals is top career choice for these psychos — they get to do it ‘legally’ (Atleast in their minds).

  4. The community needs to get together and get rid of the magistrate and the AC office.

    I am scared of any man with a gun, but it seems that if they have a gun and a badge of some sort they are even worst. This is so sad and must of been horrible for the boy that watched this man shoot the dog in front of him.

  5. Again.. I would like to know how many of these unnecessary killings have happened this year.. hummm compare it with how many people have been shot. I’m so sick of it.. this has to stop

  6. Who the hell is that asshole’s supervisor? I hope to hell He/she is in an elected job and the family goes door-to-door at election time to explain to the community that safety and service are not being delivered in any kind of reasonable manner. Someone else who’s not a dickhead needs to run against the supervisor. Then the supervisor gets booted, and the new person cans the asshole. I know it would take a while, but it needs to be done. Of course, if the supervisor stepped up and canned the asshole now, maybe they could keep the job they aren’t doing.

  7. I can’t believe they let this person get away with this! They had no right to go on private property without contacting the owner of the property first to find out if the dog is theirs! The aco had no right to shoot that poor dog! The people that called should be ashamed as well as the people defending this person that shot the dog! And seriously in the face three times???? !!! That is absurd! This person needs to be charged with the MURDER of this poor baby dog!

  8. I can’t help but to think some,if not most, people who work in “shelters” are only there because they can get away with abusing animals that can’t fight back or speak about it. To open fire on a dog as the first option, even if it were aggressive, has to take a lousy type of personality & character. Wasn’t the ACO carrying his pole? It was a chicken shit excuse to use his gun on someone & anyone who can defend such an asshole is also an asshole.

    It’s these type of freaks that has caused me to lose faith & trust in all humans.

    St. Francis of Asissi said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow human beings.”

  9. It is really odd that the “threatened” teenager and his family have not made a statement..who are these family friends??

  10. This just keeps happening too many times. It needs to stop. Unfortunately, getting police officers and others in that vein to testify negatively against each other is slim to none.

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