Baltimore Police Officer Slashes Dog’s Throat

Nala and her owner, as depicted on the CBS website.

Nala and her owner, as depicted on the website of the CBS affiliate in Baltimore.

Baltimore has problems with regard to the value placed on the lives of pets.  And that attitude extends beyond the public employees at the pound to the city police department.

On Saturday, owner Sarah Gossard let her 7 year old dog Nala outside, not realizing a gate had been left open in the yard.  Nala was wearing her ID tag when she got lost and a Good Sam tried to read the contact information on the tag but Nala was scared and nipped the woman.  Police were called to capture Nala and officers used a chokepole on her:

Robbe Reddinger, a Brewers Hill resident, said he awoke to commotion and saw officers outside his window chasing the dog around an empty lot at Grundy and Dillon streets. Eventually officers cornered the dog in an area out of Reddinger’s view.

After the dog had been cornered, Reddinger said, “I heard it yelp a few times. It was kind of a weird yelp, and then I didn’t hear anything after that. Then they dragged it. There was one cop who drug it out of the corner to where I could see it again.”

He said police dragged the dog with the control pole into the open, then shook the noose loose from around the dog’s neck. An officer stood over Nala for about a minute before walking away, Reddinger said.

Other witnesses who were closer to the scene reportedly heard Officer Jeffrey Bolger, an EMS responder, say, “I’m going to [expletive] gut this thing,” before he slit Nala’s throat with a knife.  Nala bled to death in the vacant lot.

Gossard said she doesn’t understand why police didn’t just call her to the scene. She said her phone number was included on Nala’s tags. Her dog had not bitten anyone before, she said, and was just scared.

“These people are supposed to be taking care of our community,” Gossard said, “and I’m so horrified by what they did and it’s completely unnecessary.”

The gruesome killing was not immediately reported and internal affairs investigators didn’t find out about it until Monday.  Investigators have found no evidence that Nala behaved aggressively toward Officer Bolger.  Bolger was arrested on Wednesday, charged with felony animal cruelty and malfeasance in office. He was released on his own recognizance. Because yeah, obviously. Guy’s not a threat and doesn’t have any screws loose so hey-ho, let’s give him his knives and everything will prolly be fine.

Officer Bolger has been suspended from the police force without pay.  Nala’s owner is planning to take legal action.

The police department is shocked, shocked I tell you, that they can’t think up any excuse for this killing because there were too many witnesses such violence occurred on their watch.  In a culture of apathy regarding the lives of pets where needless killing is the norm, unnecessary violence is going to happen.  It’s happening right now in the Baltimore pound where beloved pets, owned and unowned, are being killed by public employees under the guise of “euthanasia”.  This is what a culture of violence against pets looks like Baltimore.  Change it.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

 

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33 Comments

  1. This is truly disgusting! The man behaves like a sociopath and must be dealt with severely! He has no right to kill the dog! Many other options were available and he chose to kill the poor innocent animanl!

    Reply
  2. bestuvall

     /  June 19, 2014

    the stuff nightmares are made of.. he will probably be back on the job soon.. this merits a close watch

    Reply
  3. Anne Thomas

     /  June 19, 2014

    According to WMAR, the local ABC affiliate, the officer has been charged with felony animal cruelty.

    Reply
  4. mikken

     /  June 19, 2014

    Holy shit. And…correct me if I’m wrong, but is a knife standard issue for a police officer? Or is this guy carrying extra weapons just for…fun?

    Reply
    • Investigators are trying to determine if the knife was issued by the police department or just one he brought along in case he met up with any pets.

      Reply
      • mikken

         /  June 19, 2014

        Ugh. If this guy loses his grip so easily and defaults to horrific violence, I can’t imagine any of the other cops would consider him anything other than a liability. Hopefully, the PD thinks so, too and he is forced to ride a desk or choose another career altogether.

        Damn, it’s scary to think that he had explosive violence on his mind the moment he got out of the car…

        I’m glad that Nala’s owner is pursuing this. To have this as your last memory of your beloved pet is…unbearably painful.

      • If this is the first time this guy has committed violence against a pet, I’ll eat my hat. What I’m wondering is if any of the previous acts were witnessed by other cops but went unreported.

      • mikken

         /  June 19, 2014

        I was thinking that, too. Bet you money he’s done other horrific things in his professional capacity.

      • KateH

         /  June 19, 2014

        I’d like to see someone investigate his actions from before he became a cop, as well as his actions since, on the job and off. I’d bet that this is nowhere near the first time he’s done something despicable (big, small, anything at all) in his life. That he had a knife on him shows he’s all about low-down, dirty fighting – I wonder how often he used it, even just to threaten by showing it – with people. How many of those incidents went unreported or were dismissed as ‘unsubstantiated’ by his bosses. And I’d investigate his partner, too. I’m sure whoever they are, they had to have a clue that this guy was ‘extra’ nasty with others.

      • Why would his violence be limited to his work? I’d be looking at how he treated/treats any significant others, children and pets of his own. This scumbag is likely to have been violent in other contexts as well.

  5. A felony cruelty charge and suspension without pay does that indicate they’re taking it seriously–even if only because so many direct witnesses makes any alternate story he might have come up with untenable. I’m sure they don’t see the connection between what’s allowed to happen at the pound, and this turkey feeling entitled to kill a dog so gruesomely because it inconvenienced him.

    Reply
  6. sarahjaneb

     /  June 19, 2014

    Well, at least he was charged, and at least he’s not getting a paid vacation out of it. I hope he gets convicted and sentenced to a prison term, and I hope everybody at the prison knows who he is and what he did.

    Reply
  7. bbdane

     /  June 19, 2014

    This would be scary if it was just some random sociopath killing the dog this way… but to have it be a police officer – someone licensed to carry a weapon, and with the right by law to use deadly force based on *his judgement* – is beyond horrifying. We all know that cruelty to animals is just part of the continuum of cruel behavior, and is often associated with cruelty to humans. I’ll bet you anything that this guy has not only brutalized other animals, but has brutalized some people along the way.

    Reply
  8. I agree that it is impossible to believe this is his first psychopathic act. He just seem to have gotten careless with witnesses around.

    Reply
  9. I just read the first part of a very interesting WBAL radio interview with the woman, Sandy Fleishcher, who was bitten by the lost shar pei. She will make a very credible witness for Nala’s owner if this horrible incident is pursued through the civil court system. Some points, the dog’s throat was slit while she was being restrained with a catchpole; eight to 10 officers, some in SWAT gear, responded to the dog call; the Saturday morning incident was not reported “officially” until Monday; and to date, none of the other responding officers, who watched Nala’s throat being slit, have yet faced disciplinary actions. In addition, officers told Fleishcher the dog was a stray pit bull that “had been out on the streets for a while.” Being a dog owner herself, Fleishcher disabused them of those notions and asked the officers to call the number on the dog’s identification, which never happened. Officers also wanted Fleishcher to begin the rabies series immediate, which seems very odd to me. That would most certainly be a decision between her and her medical practitioners. I believe this Jeffrey Bolge r– besides being a sadistic idiot – was possessed by “roid rage.” BCPD administrators should do a drug test on him! This is terrible and I hope Nala’s owner gets some kind of satisfaction, but I doubt that will happen on any level.

    Reply
  10. Anne Thomas

     /  June 19, 2014

    Actually, the Baltimore City shelter has improved quite a bit since Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter took over operating it in 2006. They have partnered with Best Friends and Petsmart Charities to do pit bull advocacy and set up a city-run TNR program (including hiring a full-time employee to run it), they partner with pro football and baseball players to promote treating animals well and discourage cruelty, they run lots of specials to promote adoption, and they use Thundershirts to calm anxious and fearful dogs.
    And they are working toward becoming a no-kill shelter– if they followed the example of Allegany County, which has Maryland’s only no-kill shelter, they could become no-kill right away, but at least they’re trying.

    It’s neighboring Baltimore County that has the horrible shelter.

    Reply
  11. He apparently is/has been a dog owner.

    Reply
  12. Sociopath with more in his history or more in his future – take your pick. Bolger should be fired….never allowed to own a companion animal again…court ordered psyche eval and on a list of abusers. But we know Baltimore…if the Citizens don’t rally in a BIG way – this too shall simply fade…

    Reply
  13. Slit her throat. The kind of mind capable of that. Was he a former “euthanizer” of puppies and kittens?

    Reply
  14. Wait Wait – I forgot to ask – What does it MATTER who issued the knife????

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  June 19, 2014

      I think the question is, is he carrying “extra” weapons in the day to day conduct of his duties – and if so, why? For all I know, he’s got a favorite “dog killing” knife, you know?

      Reply
  15. vida

     /  June 19, 2014

    Words fail, the large numbers of cops who were there and did nothing to prevent this is the worst to me. Even if only one was a sadistic killer there are so many that will cover for him? That will allow this kind of outrage?
    People keep saying police need training to deal with dogs, I believe that might help but usually police who kill dogs seem to do it because they enjoy it and because there is seldom any down side for them. That has to end.

    Reply
  16. Clarice

     /  June 19, 2014

    A second Baltimore officer has been suspended while the department investigates his role in the slitting of a dog’s throat. Court documents say Officer Thomas Schmidt held the dog down while a fellow officer cut the animal’s throat. Baltimore Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said Schmidt has been suspended with pay during the investigation. Schmidt has not been charged.

    http://www.wbaltv.com/news/2nd-city-officer-suspended-in-connection-dogs-death/26573790?absolute=true#!04kZ6

    Reply
    • Thanks for the update Clarice. EVERY ONE of those cops who stood by and did nothing then failed to report this heinous crime should lose their jobs. How many incidents such as this happened in secret to embolden these officers to commit this crime in front of so many witnesses? It’s reflective of a culture of violence, not a one-off incident.

      Reply
  17. Lynn Ills

     /  June 19, 2014

    More subhuman assholes given a gun and a badge and they think they own the whole world and can do anything they dam well please….It’s a dam shame someone doesn’t slit their throats and let them bleed to death! I hope poor Nala’s momma drags their sorry a$$es thru the mud….rotten, rotten, scum.

    Reply
  18. Dot Cassidy Glenn Davis

     /  June 19, 2014

    Strong, murderous reaction here. Hatred so bad it scares me. Feeling like all my blood has been drained too. I wasn’t going to read it, but did , just to suffer with the little innocent victim. It was worse than I thought. God help us all and damn that son of a bitch to hell who did it.

    Reply
  19. A second officer has also been placed on administrative leave due to this heinous incident. He allegedly held Nala down, allowing Bolger to slaughter her. Here’s the link:
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-dog-killing-folo-20140619,0,7205448.story

    Reply
  20. Clarice

     /  June 28, 2014

    A second Baltimore police officer has been charged in the death of a dog whose throat was allegedly slit by another officer, but the city police union says both officers didn’t have the tools they needed to do their job and shouldn’t be charged.

    Schmidt, a 24-year veteran of the department, has been suspended without pay, department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Connolly said. He had been on paid administrative leave since last week.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-second-officer-charged-20140627,0,3488217.story

    Reply
    • db

       /  June 28, 2014

      That police union is making excuses for a deliberate act of cruelty. The officers intended to kill the dog and did. Different tools would have made no difference. They had the dog restrained on a choke pole – there was no need to slit her throat. I so hope the owner won’t let this one drop . . .

      Reply
    • sarahjaneb

       /  June 28, 2014

      Do they seriously think anyone is going to buy this load they’re peddling? The reason people are horrified by this is not because he killed her using a knife instead of a gun or a lethal dose of tranquilizers; it’s that he killed her when she was already restrained with a catchpole and there was no reason to kill her.

      Reply
      • Eucritta

         /  June 28, 2014

        I don’t think they – or any other police departments – care much if they’re widely believed by the public. I think it’s more about how well an explanation plays both in-house and to local government, which seems to be a factor of how well it allows everyone involved in the chain of command to avoid any consequence.

        We’ve reached a point where the police are both so militarized and so beyond meaningful consequence, that they even injure and kill children without suffering repercussions. So long as it can be explained away as within protocol, and local governments nod along.

    • mikken

       /  June 28, 2014

      The way they’re spinning it, they seem to think that it’s an officer’s job to execute a “dangerous dog”…and that may be if the dog poses an immediate threat. But a dog on a chokepole is not a threat and if you can hold that animal down and slash her throat, then the only immediate threat in the area is YOU.

      Reply
  21. Clarice

     /  September 12, 2014

    Attorneys for a Baltimore police officer accused of cutting a dog’s throat are asking a judge to dismiss the animal cruelty charge against him.

    The lawyers argue that because the dog attacked a person and the officer was unable to subdue the animal, Bolger was authorized to “euthanize” her.

    The lawyers also say prosecutors failed to establish probable cause for the charges against Bolger because no preliminary hearing was held. They also argue that Baltimore Police pursued charges against Bolger to protect “senior staff,” who lawyers say failed to properly train Bolger and did not outfit him and his partner with the equipment necessary to handle the situation.

    http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/09/11/officer-charged-in-dog-death-wants-charges-dropped/

    Reply

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