AL – Marshall Co ACO Kevin Hooks responded to a call on Monday regarding a pack of 5 dogs who had killed a pet owner’s dog. The owner had shot one of the 5 dogs to death. ACO Hooks captured 3 of the surviving dogs and loaded them onto his truck. He tied the dead pack dog’s body to his tailgate and drove 35 miles back to the city pound used by Marshall Co.
During the trip, several drivers reportedly got out of their vehicles at a red light and knocked on the truck’s window, trying to alert the ACO that a dead dog was hanging out the back of his truck. But he disregarded the concerned citizens and continued on to a busy highway where a woman photographed the back of the truck and posted it on Facebook. Local news outlets ran the story.
Hooks told WHNT NEWS 19 he had live stray dogs in the other cages and wanted to keep them from destroying the dead dog. Hooks said he also wanted to avoid making two 70-mile round trips.
“The mistake he made was not making two trips,” said [Marshall Co Commission] Chairman Hutcheson. “He should have took the live animals and put them in the location and then he should have came back, put the large animal inside the box, closed it up so it wasn’t visible to the public.”
Dogs are sentient beings who are aware of the difference between living animals and dead animals. They form bonds in life and they grieve when those they’ve bonded with die. The notion that this incident was objectionable only because the dead dog was visible to the public is outrageous. Even more troubling, I get the impression that ACO Hooks might have placed the dead dog inside the cage with the live dogs if he felt certain they wouldn’t have made a mess he would have had to clean up later.
Let’s be clear, the reasons this incident is unacceptable are:
- A dead dog was tied to the tailgate of an AC truck and placed within sight and smell of his caged packmates who had just witnessed his killing.
- A dead dog was tied to the tailgate of an AC truck and driven past countless citizens, some of whom tried to alert the ACO to the inappropriateness of the situation but were ignored.
- A dead dog was tied to the tailgate of an AC truck. Full stop.
Even if it was impossible to make the return trip to transport the dead dog separately, I can’t help thinking what a difference two black trash bags could have made in this situation. If trash bags are not carried on the AC vehicle (and they should be), the ACO could have asked the pet owner for two or picked up a box of them at a store. Double bagging the dead dog would have been a reasonable alternative if the return trip was deemed impossible for whatever reason.
ACO Hooks’s faux-pology to a reporter demonstrates his failure to understand the situation:
“Well yes I’m sorry that we alarmed the public by transporting the animal in a way that it raised an alarm to the public. I believe it could have been handled better if time had permitted” Hooks said.
But since time was an issue, it couldn’t have been handled any better so totally not sorry. If ACO Hooks does not have time to do his job in a manner consistent with respecting the animals in his care, changes need to be made. But don’t expect major reform as a result of this incident:
The Chairman of the Marshall County Commission says he took disciplinary action against Kevin Hooks, but is keeping him in the position for now.
Note: The images of the dead dog at the links have been sufficiently blurred to avoid disturbing most readers in my opinion.
(Thanks Clarice for sending me these links.)