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Justice for Candy Middleton: A letter to officials concerning animal cruelty

Candy, shot by Rains County Sheriff's deputy

This article goes out to members of the Rains County, Texas community who have the power to see justice served for an innocent dog.

Candy Middleton, a beautiful Blue Heeler, was murdered by former Rains County Sheriff's Deputy Jarrod Dooley on April 19.

At the time of this article, no charges have been filed against Dooley, despite his actions.

In my opinion, there are several charges Mr. Dooley (sorry, but that's his title now that he's a civilian) should have to face.

*Shooting Candy as she was retreating from police. A necropsy report is available to verify this.

*Filing a false police report. Dooley knowingly and without regret filed his police report stating he was being attacked by Candy and feared for his life. Isn't filing a false police report a crime? If a civilian had done this, he'd be facing criminal charges

*Mental anguish. The family has every right to sue Dooley, the Rains County Sheriff's Department, and any small town municipality involved. Also a civil suit should be considered by the family.

*Violation of 4th Amendment Rights. According to Law

"It’s only been within the last 15 years or so that federal appellate courts have found that plaintiffs can state a constitutional claim for the shooting of dogs by police officers."

Under the 4th Amendment, the killing of a pet can be considered destruction of property, should the courts determine the killing "unreasonable." Huge settlements have been made, with one recent case awarding a Chicago family $330,000.

*Negligence by the officer. In the case of Hells's Angels, responsible parties lost a lawsuit, resulting in the payout of just under $1 million for the death of three family dogs killed in a drug raid.

Officer's who aren't trained to be aware a dog may be on the premises, and be trained in non-lethal protection, may face charges of negligence. Sheriff Traylor has already admitted Dooley wasn't trained in the use of a Taser.

*Malicious animal cruelty. Not only did Dooley shoot a retreating family dog, he failed to put Candy out of her misery. Her owner, Cole Middleton, begged for mercy, and Dooley stood by and did nothing.

According to Texas Cruelty to Animals Statutes Section 42.09 #5 "Cruelty to Livestock Animals" and 42.09(2) "Cruelty of Non-Livestock Animals" of the Texas Health and Safety Code Killing, seriously injuring or poisoning an animal is considered animal cruelty.

Under the purposes section, take a look at #3 stating "Cruel manner" includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.

House Bill 653 and Senate Bill 1724, now known as Loco's Law, went into effect September 1, 2001, making animal cruelty a felony and punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail.

Former Deputy Jerrod Dooley should be charged with several, if not all, of the laws he has violated. The family should also file a civil suit, if necessary.

I realize most investigations clear the officer responsible, but due to public outcry, that's changing. It's a tough issue for a police department to admit fault, because that alone opens them up to lawsuits.

In Candy's case, not helping bring the person responsible for shooting her to justice will create a huge loss of respect for the officials in your community.

Animal advocates are fed up with dogs being shot by police. Especially by officer's who shoot a dog when evidence, such as a necropsy report, shows the dog was trying to escape the officer.

The lack of integrity displayed by Dooley to his fellow officers and supervisors are also troubling. Not only did he lie about what took place, he spread that lie to those who sign his paychecks. Seriously, do you really think it's in your best interest to defend such a man?

Rains County officials are welcome to comment on this situation. Please be aware this incident won't go away. If anything, the numbers of dog lovers who are forcing changes will increase.

The best thing you can do right now is to help the family get justice for Candy by charging the man responsible.

Information on who to contact to ensure Dooley is held accountable is listed below and comes from the Emory website.

Phone: 903-473-2465
Fax: 903-473-2110
City Administrator Mike Dunn 111
City Secretary Judy Ransom 104

Rains County, Texas officials are listed here, and includes Rains County judges.

I ask that you please be respectful on comments, and not threaten anyone involved.

For more of Elisa's articles on dogs shot by police, click here.

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