Lawyers for a Baltimore police officer who slit the throat of a sharpei on a city street in June tried to put a new spin on his actions in court last week, entering a not guilty plea and suggesting Officer Jeffrey Bolger was heroically trying to save the unborn child of the pregnant woman the dog had bitten.
Fortunately, the judge didn’t immediately buy it, and declined a request from defense lawyers to dismiss the animal cruelty charges filed against Bolger.
The pregnant woman, meanwhile, is calling bullshit.
“Don’t try and make yourself a hero when you made a grave mistake,” she said in a a radio interview last week, after Bolger’s initial court appearance. “Try and say I’m sorry.”
In court on Thursday, lawyers for the 22-year veteran of the police force said Bolger was “legally authorized” to kill the dog, named Nala, and that he was acting to protect the unborn child of a woman the dog had bitten.
He entered a not guilty plea to two counts of animal mutilation, one count of animal cruelty and one count of misconduct in office. Both Bolger, 49, and a second officer, who held Nala while Bolger slit her throat, have been suspended.
His attorney’s reasoning went like this: Had the dog escaped from police, the woman would have had to undergo a series of rabies shots, putting her baby at risk. Due to that, and the dangers the attorney said the dog posed to citizens nearby, Bolger made the decision to “euthanize” Nala in the safest manner possible.
“Bolger considered using his firearm, but he determined that there was too much danger of a ricochet bullet injuring bystanders,” his lawyers said. “Instead, he used his knife in a fashion intended to cause the dog the least amount of pain and place the public in the least amount of danger.”
What’s underplayed in attorney’s brief is that, when that decision was made, the dog had already been subdued with a catch pole.
The attorneys said Bolger and other officers struggled with the dog for more than an hour, the Baltimore Sun reported.
And they said Bolger didn’t say “I’m going to gut this (expletive) thing,” as some witnesses reported. Instead, they submit, he said he was going to have to “cut” the dog because of the lack of other available options.
Among those who found the attorney’s statements ludicrous was Sandy Fleischer, the pregnant woman who was trying to help the dog and keep police from harming her. She spoke out after the incident — and she did so again after Bolger’s hearing.
“To say that you were helping me and trying to save my life? I was there to help the dog,” Sandy Fleischer said. “I can’t believe they are using me for the defense.”
In an interview Thursday on WBAL Radio’s C4 Show, Fleischer said she was upset that the fact she was pregnant — something she confided only to the paramedic treating her — had made its way to police and into the courtroom.
Fleischer was nipped by the dog as she tried to get a look at her collar, so she could get in touch with the dog’s owner.
When she first recounted the incident on the radio show, months ago, Fleischer said the officers who first arrived on the scene used sticks to try and corral the dog, which only served to intensify the situation. She said officers calling the dog a pit bull.
She said police had her ushered to the ambulance “because they didn’t want me seeing the dog being killed.”
A second officer, Thomas Schmidt, 53, is accused of holding the dog down while Bolger cut her throat and is scheduled to appear in court later this month.
The judge, while declining to immediately grant the request for a dismissal requested by Bolger’s attorneys, didn’t rule out further arguments and consideration of the motion.
Bolger’s trial date is scheduled for Nov. 7.
(Photo: Ian Duncan / Baltimore Sun)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 16th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, baltimore, bite, bitten, court, cut, dog, dogs, hearing, hero, jeffrey bolger, killed, knife, law enforcement, nala, not guilty, officer, plea, police, pregnant, rabies, sharpei, slit, thomas schmidt, throat, trial, woman
“We have no words to describe this. To say that we are appalled at this allegation is an understatement,” Baltimore police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said.
Police were called Saturday morning to Grundy Street in southeast Baltimore for a report of a stray dog that had bitten someone trying to rescue it.
Police had secured the dog using a catch pole, but after that Bolger, an officer assigned to the emergency services division, used a knife to cut the dog’s throat, police said.
“Unfortunately, at some point after the dog was contained, one of our officers used a knife and cut the dog’s throat. This is outrageous and unacceptable breach of our protocol,” Baltimore police Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere said.
WJZ in Baltimore reported that charging documents quote Bolger as saying, “I’m going to gut this thing.”
The dog later died.
Police officials said they knew of no reason for the officer to use such force on a dog that was already under control.
The dog had run off from her home nearby. She was a 7-year-old shar-pei named Nala, whose owner was searching for her and had posted her pictures on a community Facebook page.
“She was just the sweetest dog and would never hurt anyone,” Sarah Gossard told 11 News. “She was just scared that day and through all of those events — scared and lost, thirsty, hungry — yes I’m very sure that she bit someone, but the actions after that were not OK,” the dog’s owner,
Bolger been suspended without pay.
“I don’t want him to have his job, I don’t want him to be able to go out on calls and react like that to a person, to a dog, to anything. That’s not OK, that’s not OK,” Gossard said.
An investigation into the incident will also look at other officers who, though aware of what happened, had not reported it,.
Police commanders said they “caught wind of it Monday” — two days after Nala was killed.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrested, baltimore, charged, city, contained, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, i'm going to gut this thing, investigation, jeffrey bolger, knife, law enforcement, nala, officer, pets, police, sarah gossard, shar-pei, sharpei, slit, throat
A Pennsylvania woman was charged with animal cruelty and a weapons offense after she slit a dog’s throat Sunday night during an argument with her fiancé at his family’s home in Union Beach, N.J., authorities said.
Michele Milford, 35, of Scranton, was being held in the Monmouth County jail in Freehold in lieu of $10,000 bail, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
Victor “Buddy’’ Amato, chief animal cruelty officer for the Monmouth County SPCA, said Milford and her fiancé argued during a party. During the dispute, she went into a laundry room and slit the throat of the family’s dog — twice.
While waiting for authorities, partygoers tried to slow the bleeding by pressing T-shirts and other items of clothing to the neck of the dog, a two-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Penelope.
The dog was rushed to the Red Bank Animal Hospital where she was scheduled to undergo surgery today.
Amato said Milford used a push knife, a two-inch blade with a T-handle designed to be grasped in a fist so the arrow-like blade protrudes from between the knuckles.
Amato said he did not know the reason for the argument, but it apparently had nothing to do with the dog.
The charges against Milford are fourth-degree offenses. The animal cruelty charge would be upgraded to a third-degree offense, punishable by a possible jail sentence, if the dog dies from her injuries, Amato said.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, argument, cut, dog, fiance, jack russell terrier, knife, michele milford, monmouth county, monmouth county spca, new jersey, penelope, push knife, red bank animal hospital, scranton, slit, spca, surgery, throat, union beach, victor "buddy" amato
A bloody confrontation Saturday at the White Rock Dog Park in Dallas left a woman’s face slashed, a man charged with aggravated assault and carrying a switchblade, and pit bulls, as usual, bearing the blame.
Michael Armalavage, 44, was arrested after he accidentally slashed another dog owner while trying to protect himself and his Australian shepherd from an attack by another dog, described as a pit bull-Rhodesian ridgeback mix.
Krisha Pembroke, 30, whose dog, Bosh, was on a leash but apparently not under control, received a gash just above her right eye, according to the Dallas Morning News. The paper’s crime blog has Armalavage’s account of the incident, and is getting dozens of reader comments about the incident, mostly saying pit bulls, and pit bull mixes, should be banned from the park if not from the city.
Nobody, as you might guess, is calling for a Rhodesian ridgeback ban.
“I don’t have problems with him,” Pembroke said of her dog. “I’ve had him since he was a baby.” But witnesses say the dog dragged her owner across the park and latched on to the nose of Armalavage’s dog. The shepherd required a dozen stitches.
Pembroke says she doesn’t want to press charges agains Armalavage, and offered to pay his vet bill.
White Rock is a leash-free dog park.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assault, attack, australian shepherd, dallas, dog park, dog parks, dogs, fight, fighting, knife, pit bull, pit bull mix, rhodesian ridgeback, switchblade, texas, white rock dog park