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A case of mistaken identities in Idaho


Not every white van is driven by a child predator.

Not every large dog is a pit bull.

Why police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, wanted to check out a white van parked near a coffee shop Wednesday morning is understandable: It fit the description of one being used by a child predator, and the coffee shop owners had called to report someone inside it was watching young children from a nearby parking lot.

Why the officer shot the van’s only occupant — a dog  —  is a little less understandable.

And why investigators called the dog a “vicious pit bull” makes even less sense.

Arfee was a black lab, according to his owner, Craig Jones, who was eating breakfast at a nearby restaurant — not scoping out children — when the officer approached his van from behind with his gun drawn.

When the dog lunged toward him out of the partially open driver’s side window the officer fired one round, through the window, hitting Arfee in the chest. He later died.

Jones said Arfee, who was two years old, did not have a mean bone in his body. “This still isn’t even real to me,” Jones told KREM 2 News.

“If my dog is barking and wondering who’s peering through the windows he doesn’t care if you’re a cop, an attorney, or President Bush,” said Jones. “He doesn’t know any difference.”

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Ron Clark said the department is reviewing the shooting, and said initial police reports describing the dog as a pit bull were erroneous.

“Animal control officers originally identified the dog as a pit bull,” he said. “The Police Department had a veterinarian examine the dog and it has been identified as a lab mix.”

“We understand the grief the family is dealing with due to the loss of their pet. We also understand the distress this has caused for citizens,” Clark said. “The officer who shot the dog is also distraught over this incident.”

Arfee’s owner, who formerly lived in Coeur d’Alene, was visiting for the 4th of July weekend, according to the Spokesman-Review.

“Best 4th of July weekend in cda eva,” Jones, who now lives in Colorado, posted on his Facebook page earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, he posted this: “Cda cops just shot my dog while I ate lunch at Java?”

Yesterday, he thanked his Facebook friends for their support. “Today is definitely harder than yesterday. Just seeing his ball in my rig tears me apart,” he wrote. “This cop left a hole in both of (us) that can’t be fixed.”

(Photo: Craig Jones’ Facebook page)


Comment from Miss Jan
Time July 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm

John – you absolutely positively must do a book about the epidemic of dog murders by cops. I respectfully point out that every time a dog is shot by a cop they take the cop-outs that it was a boo-boo or they “felt threatened”. The reality is this (and I have relatives and friends who are older cops (or retired older cops): law enforcement does not adequately screen for sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies and are far too accepting of testosterone overloaded thugs into the usually under-trained police forces; but most significant of all is the militarization of local law enforcement – the theme being kill first and don’t ask questions later. “Investigating” means provide mealy mouthed “felt threatened” or “mistake!” excuses and then do an internal affairs “investigation” with a press release after the hoo-hah dies down in the media – a press release invariably stating the cop was “justified” in using lethal force. I must also point out that the success of militarized law enforcement was hugely enhanced in societies creeping toward “police state” by citizens “turning in” citizens even when the turned-in were innocent. Some busybody decided a dog was actually a human pedophile. Just to make trouble. And knowing how over 20 percent of today’s citizenry is sociopathic, they are probably gloating over their little “mistake.”

Comment from Smoketoomuch
Time July 14, 2014 at 8:27 am

And precisely what difference would it have made if the animal in question had been a “Pit Bull”? NONE! The dog would still be (unjustly and unnecessarily) dead, and his INNOCENT owner would still be without his best friend, the cop would still be a trigger happy murderer, and the issue would still be revolting. I agree 100% with Miss Jan above there is an epidemic of Cops shooting innocent dogs in this country, dogs whose only crime was to follow their canine instinct.

Comment from Jen Brighton
Time July 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm

To the above poster–my exact thought about it somehow being more acceptable if it had been a pit bull. So glad my dogs don’t bark at all when in the car. Half the time they don’t even get up from lying on the seat to see what’s going on outside the car. These types of incidents have to stop. To be having an innocent cup of coffee and have your dog murdered in your vehicle. Unimaginable.

Comment from Smoketoomuch
Time July 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Anyone even remotely familiar with dog breeds can easily tell the difference between a “vicious Pit Bull” (see my earlier comments above), and a 2 year old Lab pup, especially since they apparently confiscated the body immediately after re-actively / reflexively killing the dog. Like so many other “Officer Involved” dog killings of late, I smell a great big RAT.
Regardless of the Mayor’s pronouncements to the contrary, this shooting too will be white washed by the Powers That Be.