A 14 year old mixed breed dog named Harley ran out a door accidentally left open by his kids last week. His family began searching for him by putting up fliers around the neighborhood and online. Unbeknownst to owner Dani Juras, Harley had been hit by a car just 2 blocks from home that night. Ross Knapp, a compassionate resident who lived near the scene of the accident, brought water out to Harley, who was severely injured, and stayed by his side to comfort him while waiting for help to arrive.
Instead, the Denver police arrived and told Mr. Knapp he could not comfort Harley or take him to a vet for treatment. Mr. Knapp tried repeatedly to get back to Harley’s side as he lay gasping for breath in the street but the police threatened to arrest him if he did not leave. Denver police contacted the on-call ACO and stood guard over the suffering pet for more than an hour, preventing anyone from assisting. Harley finally died shortly before the ACO arrived.
The heartbroken owner would like to see the officers held accountable for their cruelty in some way. One local pet advocate wrote to city council, asking that the city stagger its ACO shifts so there would be better coverage for community pets in need during evening hours. Dozens of people attended a memorial for Harley last night. But the police department has stood by the actions of its officers:
Denver Police said injured dogs are unpredictable and helping them puts both the animal and the person at risk. Police posted a YouTube video in which a veterinarian and animal control officer explain why it’s best to wait for professionals to handle an injured animal.
While we can all agree that allowing a trained professional to handle an emergency situation sounds ideal, it’s not always practical in real life. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to allow the Good Sam to transport the dog to a vet and free up the resources of the police department so they didn’t have to stand guard over a dying pet? I mean, assuming Denver still has actual crime happening?
Harley’s right to live should have been protected. Instead, he was left to suffer an agonizing death while the police threatened someone willing to try to save Harley’s life. Trying to help an injured dog is not a crime. If these officers are not needed in Denver to fight real crime, perhaps they should be laid off or at least transferred to the Threateners of Good Samaritans department, since Denver apparently sees such a need.
(Thanks Tonya for sending me this story.)