Animal control officer who struck river rescue dog won’t be prosecuted
An animal control officer who struck a dog with his baton, leading to a cracked skull and the loss of an eye, did not use excessive force, authorities in Oregon have concluded.
The officer, Hoyt Stepp, was defending himself against two dogs when he struck Dojie, a river rescue dog who was running loose when the Washington County animal control officer encountered her.
After an investigation by Hillsboro police, the district attorney’s office said there was not enough evidence to pursue animal cruelty charges against the officer.
Protesters gathered outside a news conference yesterday, where the decision not to prosecute the officer was explained, KOIN reported.
“I am convinced that the responding officer followed a reasonable course of action,” said Deborah Wood of Washington County Animal Control.
Animal Services Field Supervisor Randall Covey said the officer followed his training: “…He created a barrier between himself and the dogs, backing up, yelling at the dogs to go home. That did not deter the dogs. Officer Stepp got to the point the dogs were right on him in full, aggressive attack, and at that point Officer Stepp struck Dojie one time to avoid being bitten.”
Marlin Starr, Dojie’s owner, reported the incident to police after witnesses told him the officer struck his dog, who had escaped from his yard.
While authorities say the dog was struck once, Starr questions how one blow could cause a cracked skull, injured shoulder and complications that led to the loss of one of Dojie’s eyes.
“I am outraged for Dojie and I am outraged for every animal in Washington County. No animal is safe from Animal Control at this point,” Starr said.
Dojie is an experienced river rescue dog trained to help people who fall out of rafts, according to KATU.
She will no longer be able to do that job, Starr said.
Starr said witnesses told him his dog ran into his backyard, followed by an animal control officer, who pulled out a collapsible baton known as a bite stick, and hit Dojie.
The police investigation concluded that the case “did not contain the necessary elements of the crime of animal abuse.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 27th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
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