Target: Colonel J.L. Cahill, West Virginia State Police
Goal: Condemn the state trooper caught on film allegedly attempting to shoot a leashed, non-aggressive family dog.
A West Virginia state trooper was caught on video apparently about to shoot a family dog in the head before the dog’s owner intervened and was then tackled to the ground. The trooper arrested the woman on charges of obstruction of justice, and confiscated phones belonging to her and her husband which had filmed the entire incident. To make matters worse, the apparent attempted murder of Buddy all took place in front of the family’s young child.
The trooper later filed a report that the dog was approaching in an aggressive manner and snarling, but the released footage taken by the husband of the dog’s owner makes it perfectly clear that the dog, Buddy, was leashed and wagging his tail. The trooper then testified in court that he had not feared for his life, but was simply following a West Virginia State Police policy to shoot any dogs that approach, regardless of the circumstance. The court cleared the owner of the charges placed against her, but this officer is still serving in spite of his outrageous behavior.
This certainly appears to be another case of excessive force against a pet and unlawful arrest against Buddy’s owner. Additionally, if the trooper’s claims regarding the West Virginia State Police’s policies are correct, then it points to a systemic problem in training and protocol that must be addressed. If true, then all dogs in West Virginia could be at risk should an officer enter the property and make the decision that they were “approached” by the animal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has condemned the officer’s action, and has called for the mandatory training of all officers in how to humanely interact with pets.
Luckily, Buddy survived this ordeal, but now his owner and her family report that they are traumatized and fearful of police. A lawsuit is now in place against the officer in question, and justice must be served. No family should have to fear that their dog will be killed simply because law enforcement is present. Sign the petition below and demand that this officer be fired for his illegal and unprofessional behavior.
Dear Colonel Cahill,
The case involving a state trooper who allegedly attempted to kill a non-aggressive dog and later arrested his owner for intervening is a distressing example of excessive force within the West Virginia State Police Department. Video of the incident shows that the dog was restrained and wagging his tail, and the officer himself later stated he did not fear for his life, in spite of false reports that indicated that the dog was “aggressive and snarling.” The actions that the trooper displayed were cruel and lacking in the professionalism expected of a law enforcement officer.
The dog was not harmed, and the owner has been cleared of all charges, but the emotional trauma inflicted upon this family is inexcusable. No one should have to fear that their pet will be killed simply because it “approached” an officer. Please discipline this trooper for his shameful actions, and make a commitment to improve training for all officers to humanely deal with dogs in all circumstances.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Hupp Family