In a police video that recently surfaced on YouTube, a Missouri officer responding to a neighborhood complaint attempts to capture a restrained bulldog, then appears to give up and simply shoot the animal, once in the chest and once in the head.
The dog’s owner, Marcus Mays of LaGrange, Missouri, was ultimately fined a total of $150 for failing to register his dog and for not muzzling a “vicious animal.” Video of the dog’s death was not played at the trial, according to published reports, so a friend of the owner put it online as a “cry for help.”
“The nearly 10-minute video, shot from a camera apparently located inside a police vehicle, is posted on YouTube and shows the dog standing in front of a mobile home, tied to the home with a chain or rope,” the Quincy Herald-Whig reported. “The dog, which appears to be a bulldog, does not offer any resistance and allows an officer to put a leash on it.”
Moments later the animal, named Cammie, barks at officers and struggles to avoid a hook attached to a long, metal rod. Once police stopped trying to snare the animal, it laid down quietly. Upon second attempt, police successfully restrain Cammie, who struggles but then stands motionless, looking away from the officers.
That’s when LaGrange Police Officer Doug Howell drew his weapon, aimed and fired a single round into Cammie’s chest, dropping the dog immediately. Shortly thereafter she began wagging her tail, so the officer put another bullet in her head.
Police had been called to the scene after a neighbor reported the animal was growling at a 6-year-old, according to The Hannibal Courier Post , which also noted that another neighbor testified the dog had chased him.
“[Cammie’s owner] pointed out that the dog could not have been too angry because [the neighbor] chained it at her home while [officers] went to get special equipment used in handling animals,” the paper added.
The sequence of events — depicted in an edited version which had over 100,000 viewers on YouTube at time of this writing — was especially displeasing to Michelle Gwynn, Examiner Santa Ana’s animal rights blogger.
“All that needed to happen then was for the second officer to place the dog cage in front of the animal, hold it steady, while the first officer pushed the dog, head-first, into the cage,” she wrote. “This isn’t rocket science.”
She added that the Humane Society would be giving LaGrange officers retraining on how to handle animals.
Police officials said the officers in the YouTube video would not face any disciplinary action.
In the full video, Officer Howell pulls the trigger at approximately 8:17.
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This article first appeared in Salon.
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