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“Chill out … you can buy another one”

A man and his girlfriend who were rushing their sick dog to an emergency veterinary clinic were pulled over by police in  San Marcos, Texas, and, despite their pleas, forced to wait 20 minutes for a ticket to be issued.

“Chill out,”  the officer reportedly told the speeder. “It’s just a dog. You can buy another one.”

Michael Gonzalez was allegedly driving 95 mph when he and girlfriend Krystal Hernandez were pulled over after midnight Aug. 5 as they headed south on Interstate 35 toward a clinic in New Braunfels. The teacup poodle, Missy, died while the pair said they waited 20 minutes for Officer Paul Stephens to issue a ticket, according to an Associated Press account.

“This was not our finest hour,” said San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams. Williams said the department began an investigation after Gonzalez filed a complaint over the incident.

Gonzalez and Hernandez said the dog started choking at home, then threw up and went limp. After they were stopped, they pleaded with Stephens to allow them to continue and later turn themselves in. They also said they offered for Gonzalez to stay behind while Hernandez drove with Missy to New Braunfels.

Gonzalez said Stephens then talked with two other officers on the scene and didn’t allow him to leave for 20 minutes. By then, Missy was dead.

“It was not handled right by our officer,” Chief Williams said, “but whether there was a violation of our policy that is subject to punishment, I don’t know.”

It seems to me if it’s not, it should be, and Stephens should get his walking papers. If you think taking his job away seems too severe, well, chill out, he can always get another one.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time August 15, 2008 at 5:50 pm

As sad as this is for the people who lost the dog, it should be viewed as more of a symptom. When police officers behave this way towards people who are obviously in trouble, there’s a problem somewhere. If they can do this when a dog’s life is at stake, their potential behavior around other defenseless victims or those in need of aid should be evaluated. The words “Officer, can you help us?” shouldn’t ever be seen as permission to go on a power trip. Whether this is a “punishable” action or not, Chief Williams should be very suspicious of those involved.

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