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Irmo police officer who shot dog last September fired for behavior issues

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The Irmo police officer who shot a family dog has been fired for behavior issues, The State: South Carolina's Homepage reported April 24.

The articles listed under suggested by the author following this story tell the tragedy of how Officer L.R. Null shot and killed Kenya, a Shepherd/Lab mix. Kenya had been reported as running at large in her Irmo, South Carolina neighborhood, but had returned to her yard, where she was shot.

According to Police Chief Brian Buck, the cause of Null being dismissed in early April wasn't connected with the shooting. Buck told The State the five year veteran of the force was terminated due to

“a policy violation in a traffic stop he conducted.”

Null was said by town officials to be a bit too zealous about enforcing the law, where he issued an abnormal number of traffic citations, town administrator Bob Brown reported.

A total of 100 traffic tickets issued by former officer Null were dismissed, including 24 for suspected drunk driving and 76 for speeding and reckless driving.

Irmo Mayor Hardy King said

“There was sufficient stuff in the gentleman’s record that caused this to happen."

Null's lawyer, Charles Ormond, decline comment to The State.

Town officials still stand behind Null's right to shoot Kenya, saying it was self defense.

This isn't the first case of an officer being fired after killing a family dog. Travis Harness, a corrections officer in Scott County, Tennessee was fired for killing a dog while he was off duty. You can read that story here on Examiner.

While most officers are cleared of any wrongdoing, a few have been terminated following an investigation. The most recent being the Candy Middleton tragedy, where a Texas dog was shot by Rains County Deputy Jerred Dooley.

It's unfortunate when reasons unrelated to murder of a family pet are given about an officer's termination. Perhaps with more officers being terminated after a dog incident, officers will take a hint and learn non-lethal methods to subdue an attacking dog.

In many states, an officer may be terminated due to behavior on or off the job, since police are supposed to set an example for integrity. On or off the job, a police department may have the right to fire an officer for shaming their their fellow officers, as well of their community.

Readers, do you believe an officer who shoots a dog will have other issues that spill over into his or her ability to protect the public? It would seem that officers who shoot a family dog may have issues regarding behavior that tend to show up in other aspects of the job.

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