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.)