On Monday, Officer David Anthony Pitts resigned from the DeKalb County Police Department; Chief James Conroy accepted the officer's resignation although Pitts was not requested to leave reported ajc.com.
Last Thursday evening, the nine-year-old German shepherd named Doctor had been let out for his bathroom break at 7:00 p.m. by owner Tim Theall. When Theall opened the gate, the friendly shepherd rushed around to the front of the family's home. Not aware of a police officer next door checking on a false home alarm, the next sounds Theall heard:
And before I turned the corners of the house, I heard two shots. I heard a cop go, "Holy (expletive)."
Although Theall does admit that Doctor may have initially scared a stranger as he bounded towards the officer who shot the dog in the face, the rest of the tragedy is just as troubling and could have easily cost Doctor his life.
After the shooting, Theall immediately began to make preparations to transport Doctor to an emergency veterinarian for treatment. Officer Pitts refused to allow Theall to move his dog, citing required "procedures" had to be followed after any shooting. Theall tried to circumvent the officer's squad car to get out of his driveway to rush his bleeding dog to the vet for treatment. At that point, Officer Pitts threatened Theall with being arrested if he tried to move his dog.
It took more than a half-hour before the officer's superior came to follow the required "procedure" to preserve the shooting scene. According to Theall, the "procedure," was to take photos of his suffering dog.
The case is currently under investigation now, and it is hoped that procedures will be changed with authorities already agreeing that how an officer reacts to a dog is based on an officer's comfort level with dogs. Officers are permitted to use deadly force if they feel threatened by an aggressive or aggressively acting dog, however it raises the question if officers are trained enough to read a dog's body language.
What was troubling to Chief Conroy, however is Theall being refused permission to immediately take his dog for medical help pending the dog's photos being taken. Theall told authorities he waited with Doctor on his lap bleeding, until authorities took their photos before being allowed to leave.
Over $12,000 has been raised on a GoFundMe site for Doctor's medical expenses. Tuesday's update offered some advice to the local police:
We would like to urge Dekalb County police to train his replacement to more responsibly deal with dogs and medical emergencies. A life is more than a paperwork hassle. We are all much, much more than that. To that end, let's all go take a walk and enjoy the amazing fact that we are still breathing today. Just be careful out there."
Meanwhile Doctor is undergoing a CT scan which will help veterinarians proceed with the dog's medical plan for his hopeful recovery.
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