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Fire chief sues owners of dog he hit with rock

A former Los Angeles County assistant fire chief accused of beating a dog with a rock has sued the animal’s owners, his attorney said Thursday.

Glynn Johnson, 54, says the dog bit him, scarring and damaging his thumb, as he tried to return it to its house, according to an Associated Press report.

Johnson pleaded not guilty to the animal cruelty charge, a felony, filed by prosecutors after his Nov. 3 clash with Karley, a 6-month-old German shepherd mix that was euthanized due to its injuries.

His lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Riverside County Superior Court, claims negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeks unspecified damages from the owners.

According to Johnson’s attorney, John E. Sweeney, the dog had gotten loose and was on Johnson’s property when the fire official took it by the collar and started walking it back to the home of its owners, Jeff and Shelley Toole.

“When the dog saw he was being led back to his own house, he started thrashing about,” Sweeney said. “He got Glynn Johnson’s thumb in his mouth and nearly tore the tip off.”

Sweeney said Johnson picked up a rock and hit the dog.

“He only hit him twice, as soon as the dog was hit a couple of times, he let go and ran away,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney said his client’s thumb was scarred and appeared to have permanent nerve damage.

The Toole’s offer a different account of what happened on their website, justice4karley.com, which includes photos of Karley, a petition and a song written in her memory. (To hear it, click here.)

Johnson, a 31-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, was placed on administrative leave after the charges were filed. He decided to retire last month, in part because of the case, Sweeney said.

“His life has been turned upside down,” Sweeney said. “This was a man ready to retire with dignity … and he goes out the back door of the Fire Department because of these allegations.”

Johnson faces four years in prison if convicted.

(Photo from justice4karley.com)


Comment from tsg
Time February 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I’m torn on this one.

On one hand I look at this beautiful little dog and am sad that her life was cut short.

On the other hand, after reading the post above and checking out the justice4karley website I question if the owners of Karley aren’t in fact just attention seekers.

There’s a photo that shows Karley tied up – also, if in fact the man who allegedly killed her is accurate in his story the she QUOTE “When the dog saw he was being led back to his own house, he started thrashing about,” – Why didn’t Karley want to go home????

The whole thing is a bit fishy re: owners.