Candy was a two year old Blue Heeler; anyone that knew her loved her.
One day her owner, Cole Middleton, house was burglarized and the police were called out to make a report of the incident. Upon arrival at the Middleton dairy farm, Deputy Jerrod Dooley is met with the barking family dog Candy standing in the bed of her owner’s truck alerting everyone to his presence.
An unfortunate series of circumstances followed; the Middleton family were out working on the farm and not near the house when the deputy finally arrived. The police had been called more than three hours earlier and the Middleton's had been expecting someone from the sheriff's department much sooner. Deputy Dooley proceeded to the front door and after getting no answer he entered the premises, after he came out of the house, without the owner's consent, he was met again by Candy.
At this time the Middleton's had realized the Deputy was there and were racing back to the house on their tractors, honking their horns to try and let Dooley know they were on their way. Cole Middleton has said he could see Candy in the bed of the truck barking, saw when she jumped out and then he lost sight of her.
Deputy Dooley stated that Candy charged him and that’s when he drew his weapon and fired two shots toward Candy with his department issued fire arm, the first missed and the second hit her in the back of the head behind her ear as she was retreating.
Unfortunately for Candy she was not dead but screaming in agonizing pain. Her owner was upon her quickly as Deputy Dooley moved back to his police car, as Candy writhes on the ground in immense pain Mr. Middleton begged the deputy to shoot her again to end her suffering but the Deputy refused. Mr. Middleton began to try and think how he could help his dog in some way, he was the owner of various firearms but they had all been stolen from the house earlier that day. So he did the most unimaginable thing that any pet owner could ever think about doing to their own animal, he held her head in a bucket of water until she was drowned to ease her suffering and pain.
At this time Deputy Dooley called for backup from his cruiser and instructed the family to step back and stay away from him. After the other officers arrived they asked for Mr. Middleton and his son to give them his account of what happened, some of this conversation was caught on tape by Middleton’s cell phone. The behavior of the officers on this recording is alarming, Mr. Middleton is distraught over his companion and you can hear him crying and the sadness in his voice. The officers respond to him with sarcasm, mocking him and laughing, an unbelievable response and inexcusable behavior at such a time.
After this incident the Rains County Police Department began to investigate, the result was the releasing of Deputy Dooley from his position and as of now the investigation is ongoing as well as pre-trail proceedings are now in full swing. The Middleton's filed for open request on discharges of a firearm and have learned that in January Mr. Dooley shot another family pet, before the Candy incident in April. So in the few months of his employment with the Rains County Police Department he shot two family dogs, the Middleton's have received numerous letters from police officers all over the country, expressing their remorse and exclaiming that they have served for many many years without ever discharging their issued firearms on the job. Unfortunately, these types of incidents are not uncommon and pet owners need to be aware of this and take certain precautions to keep this from happening.
As for myself, I have informed everyone in my family that if the police are to be called to our house our dogs are to be crated immediately. I have the same rule for when we have unfamiliar visitors to the house such as cable workers or home repair people of any kind. This is just an extra precaution in case someone was to be bitten.
But the responsibility is not only on our side, this happens too often and with little remorse and disciplinary consequences on the police side. Which is why things needs to change and all police should be held more accountable for these types of actions as well as training put in place for officers on this subject where as of now is nonexistent.
After the incident Mr. Middleton took Candy’s body to be examined by a veterinarian and it was confirmed that Candy was shot in the back of the head, which proves that Candy was in fact retreating from the Deputy when she was shot.
The Middleton’s have pushed for legislation aptly named Candy’s Law to be passed; this law will change the accountability of law enforcement when a situation like Candy’s arises. Our pet’s lives are important as well and should be treated as such.
The local company Granbury Family Graphics & Design has set up a website dedicated solely to Candy’s Law, selling merchandise not only to create awareness for situations such as these but all proceeds will go into the benefit fund which will help the fight to pass Candy’s Law.
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The internet is littered with news reports and local stories on incidents just like this and it’s a terrible travesty. I know that in some cases the officers are just doing their job and have to protect themselves but there are too many cases with evidence to prove the opposite; that the animal was of no threat and was gunned down for no reason or cause. Please help to take action and make our pets safer as well as install your own plan to help keep your pets safe.