Friday, March 23rd, 2012

You know, maybe this one isn’t so bad. The dogs were on someone else’s property, had a history of chasing and menacing people, and the cop claims he was protecting an 10-month-old girl.

Oh, but wait. The shooter wasn’t a cop. And the dogs were on his property. And it was his daughter. So naturally he was prosecuted.

According to Feigles, the dogs were at his feet attempting to bite or attack him. He said he attempted to scare the dogs away several times by throwing rocks and eventually firing warning shots into the ground.

The Sullivans heard the shots, but thought nothing of it because some neighbors occasionally shoot targets in the area. Those shots, the Sullivans believe, actually were the ones aimed at their dogs.

“He took away one of the Sullivan’s family members and maimed one of them,” said Melissa Kalaus, assistant district attorney.

Kalaus said the dogs – one of which weighed 16 pounds, the other 20 pounds – were a nuisance, but were not aggressive. Feigles chose to shoot the animals instead of taking other reasonable defenses such as going inside or calling authorities.

“Call the authorities.” Good one.

Here’s another cop-kills-dog case from St. Pete, Florida. Police were responding to a domestic disturbance. The dog lived in a separate apartment. According to the article, St. Pete police killed seven dogs last year, “prompting police Chief Chuck Harmon to change a number of policies for dealing with dogs.”

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39 Responses to “Puppycide”

  1. #1 |  Nonie | 

    Oh, wow – that’s my town! (St. Pete).

    A couple of commenters brought up an excellent point:

    “And all they give postal workers is pepper spray.Maybe thats the answer?”

    “Correct and that is the flaw in the argument of cop endangerment. If it were so dangerous to be around these dogs then you would hear of a postal worker being attacked in St. Petersburg every day. The cops ARE overreacting.”

    “Exactly. Postal workers, repair men, cable company people, pool cleaners, etc. deal with dogs every single day, often multiple times per day. How often do you hear of them getting attacked or having to defend themselves from a dog? Yet time and time again cops shoot dogs because they are being “attacked”. Something doesn’t quite fit there.”

  2. #2 |  nobody | 

    Ooof! Radley’s patented nut-punch to end the week. Thanks!

  3. #3 |  SJE | 

    It would be interesting to how the same PA town deals with police-initiated puppycide

  4. #4 |  zero | 

    That’s some extremely inappropriate Tebowing.

  5. #5 |  Jncc | 

    Shooting a 16 pound and a 20 pound dog because they were a danger to you?


    And if the asshole was shooting anywhere near his 10 month daughter, I hope he gets prosecuted for child endangerment as well.

  6. #6 |  Kevin Rulokowski | 

    This goes in the “do as I say, not as I do” file.

  7. #7 |  BSK | 

    Justice for dogs but not Trayvon. Seriously? This one might actually make me barf. I hope the parents of black teens don’t see this.

  8. #8 |  Aresen | 

    No offense, Radley, but I really, really wish you hadn’t posted that picture.

  9. #9 |  Travis Ormsby | 

    The fact that the guy’s not a cop actually does make a huge difference. Ordinary citizens aren’t typically granted the authority to use force to ensure the public order. Police are. He might have a self defense claim, but apparently the jury thought such a claim against a 16 and 20 lb dog was, how shall we say … lacking merit.

    I notice you also conveniently did not quote some of the more disturbing statements from the guy. Like him wishing he’s used hollow point bullets so as to ensure both dogs died and stating that he wished he’d run them over with the tractor. Those don’t sound to me like the kind of statements made by someone with a legitimate self-defense claim.

  10. #10 |  Deoxy | 

    Shooting a 16 pound and a 20 pound dog because they were a danger to you?


    And if the asshole was shooting anywhere near his 10 month daughter, I hope he gets prosecuted for child endangerment as well.

    If an unfriendly dog is on my property, I have the right to remove it from my property. If it is trying to bite me when I do so, I have the right to defend myself (since I’m not the one in the wrong). Heck, if it’s on my property AT ALL, isn’t that a violation of the average loose animal/leash law in most places?

    Any vaguely libertarian position is going exonerate the father if almost any subset of those facts hold true.

    Comparing it to how cops are treated when the kill dogs (even/especially on wrong door raids) is just a bonus.

  11. #11 |  Deoxy | 


    You know, I almost never double-quote instead of end-quote, but I’ve done it twice on this blog in the last month. Seriously, Radley, some kind of edit function, please?!?

  12. #12 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I would rather you hadn’t posted a picture that looks so much like my dog.

  13. #13 |  Difster | 

    Nothing like a good old double standard to end the week. There is absolutely no doubt that any cop that did this (even an off duty one) would not be prosecuted.

  14. #14 |  Powersox | 

    @ 9, Travis Ormsby:
    I find those quotes very suspect – the fact that they weren’t recorded, no notes, no nothing makes it sound like they were just trying to paint the guy in the worst light possible.
    Except, you know, a cop, prosecutor, DA, etc. would never, ever, not-in-a-million-years lie, especially if there’s no way to prove them wrong.

  15. #15 |  marco73 | 

    First story just sounds fishy. You are out driving around on a riding lawn mower, and there is a 10 month old outside? Dude, put the kids inside while you cut the grass, then let them out after you put the lawn mower away.
    Wow, seven dogs shot in only 1 year in St Pete? So seven times, an officer was so in fear of his life that he needed to draw his weapon and shoot a dog, regardless of the danger of the cop hitting other people in the vacinity?
    St Pete is God’s waiting room. Just about every old person has a dog around. I’ll bet it would be difficult to find any apartment building in the city WITHOUT multiple dogs inside. How you can be a cop there and not be able to deal with a yipping dog is beyond me.

  16. #16 |  Brandon | 

    Don’t worry, Deoxy, the tagging doesn’t make you look any stupider than the comment itself.

  17. #17 |  hamburglar007 | 

    Brandon, troll much?

  18. #18 |  Pinandpuller | 

    A friend of mine shot an alleged $1000 bird dog that was regularly coming by to kill his kids chickens and ducks. The owner was pissed but the law in Wyoming allows you to kill animals that are even just harassing your livestock IIRC. Also my friend was 6’4 and full of muscles so the guy didn’t have much to say in person.
    I can see both sides of this issue but it sounds more like this Feigles guy wanted to start a fued with his neighbors. If a 16lb dog was snapping at me I’d grab it by the collar and return it to the neighbor.

  19. #19 |  AL | 

    Hmm… I kind of have mixed feelings on this. I’m a cyclist who encounters crazed dogs quite a bit. Just about a month ago, I had an encounter where a pack of three dogs on the trail surrounded me, barked and growled ferociously, drooled everywhere and leapt up on their hind legs to paw me with their forepaws. One of the dogs was a German sheperd, the other two looked like bulldogs of some sort (I’m not an expert on dog breeds). Before the dogs got to the point of surrounding me, however, my heart was pounding out of my chest and since I didn’t have any weapons, my immediate instinct was to get off my bike and swing that thing around to smack the dogs around, or else maybe run one over. But in the end, I ultimately decided to just ride it out casually and ignore the dogs altogether. The dogs chased me for probably a mile, but they never once bit me, and I’m glad no one and nothing had to get hurt. Now I do realize that people do get hurt and killed by dogs, and I wouldn’t begrudge someone defending themselves, but sometimes dogs are all bark and we should take care not to be too trigger happy.

  20. #20 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    I am a dog lover. The cold fact remains that if a 16-20 lb. animal predator decides it wants to remove your face, you would wish you had a gun. The vast majority of pet dogs and cats are friendly, but one that isn’t can ruin your whole day. Having wrestled with an angry stud cat (20 lb range) with heavy protective clothing and VERY heavy gloves, I assure you that I NEVER want to do that again. I don’t freaking CARE how cute the kittens are.

    I’m sorry that somebody’s pet got killed, but, dammit, pet owners are too casual about letting their animals roam. Years ago my parents had an English Bulldog, and his enjoyment of the family vacations was severely curtailed because, while HE had been trained not to leave the property other people’s dogs roamed freely in that area, and then THEY complained that OUR dog told their puppy to get the hell off his territory.


  21. #21 |  Radley Balko | 

    Just to be clear, I don’t entirely buy the guy’s story in the first example. I was just pointing out the contrast between what happened to him and what happens to police who do the same thing.

  22. #22 |  Brandon | 

    Hamburglar, hardly ever. Read much? How do you go from “any vaguely libertarian position” to “leash laws” with a straight face? And simple trespassing, especially by an animal, is not close to justification for killing that animal. You do have the right to remove it from your property. You do not have the right to kill it anymore than I have the right to shoot your 16 year old for using my driveway to turn around.

    The fact that cops get away with shit like this is horrifying because NO ONE should get away with shit like this, not because everyone should be able to. If you believe that, you’re not a libertarian, you’re just a bloodthirsty idiot. By any reasonable standard, Feigles’ self defense justification does not hold up, and Deoxy is demonstrating the reasoning capacity of a slow 4 year old.

  23. #23 |  Bill | 

    If the guy in the first case really wanted the dogs dead, all he needed to do was call the authorities, as suggested by the ADA, to report menacing animals, a disturbance, free donuts, or whatever and the cops would have come out and shot the dogs for him. Problem solved.

  24. #24 |  Brandon | 

    C.S.P, there is a huge difference between a 20 pound dog and a 20 pound cat. And if a 20 pound domestic dog decides it wants to remove your face, you can pick it up and hold it at arm’s length until it calms down or you find its owner. If it actually injures you, and you are not too ashamed to admit that a 20 pound dog injured you, its owner is liable for whatever damage it did, but I think you would have a hard time convincing a jury of reasonable people that a 20 pound dog made you fear for your life.

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 


    Having worked in a kennel during high school, I can say you are wrong.

    A physically fit 20-lb dog can be almost impossible to get ahold of and/or restrain unless you have a noose pole or protective gear, especially if they are determined to attack you.

    They are actually worse than an 80-lb dog because they tend to be much more nimble and thus harder to tackle.

  26. #26 |  JSL | 

    “And if the asshole was shooting anywhere near his 10 month daughter, I hope he gets prosecuted for child endangerment as well.”

    A 16-20lb dog won’t think much about biting a 10 month old and sometimes a gun is the best way to protect yourself.

    “Shooting a 16 pound and a 20 pound dog because they were a danger to you?”

    Having had mostly small terriers as pets during my childhood, you’re rather naive if you think they can’t be vicious or lethal despite their size. They’re easier to control but there is no guarantee. My mother’s own dog bit her (old cranky mini schnauzer), the wound got infected and mom went to the ER to get it fixed. The ER has to report that its a dog bite. Animal control showed up to check the dog out two days later and right off the bat told me they might have to take the dog into custody. So, the state sure thinks they’re a threat at times hmm? People need to control their damn pets. The state doesn’t like it when the serfs handle things themselves either.

  27. #27 |  Brandon | 

    Aresen, are you being sarcastic? if a dog is trying to rip your face off, why would you have to tackle it? And having worked in a kennel much more recently than high school, I am absolutely right. The only possible way a 20 pound dog could be any sort of threat to a grown man is if it’s a porcupine and you’re a hemophiliac.

  28. #28 |  Aresen | 

    I am not being sarcastic. I have seen 20-lb packages of muscle that can wriggle out of any grip you try and put on them from “arms length.”

    If you can tackle a dog, you can pin it and put a foot or a forearm across its windpipe, allowing you to prevent movement of the head and preventing it from putting a bite on you.

    The ONLY primary advantage that a human has over a dog in a physical situation is weight.

  29. #29 |  Zeb | 

    As far as I am concerned you can use deadly force on a dog to protect the integrity of the skin on your hands. No deadly threat needed. Sorry. If you own a dog, it is your responsibility to control it. If it goes on someone else’s property and exhibits the least bit of aggressive behavior, the property owner absolutely should have the right to shoot it. Just the same as if a raccoon or something was acting as if it wants to bite you. My comfort and bodily integrity is worth more to me than your dog. If your dog isn’t trained well enough to stay where you want it to be, keep it on a fucking leash.

    That said, I think that nice people ought to try other measures first, if it seems reasonably possible.

  30. #30 |  MassHole | 

    I don’t care if your dog weighs 5 lbs or 100 lbs. I’m not going to get bit and you can be double damn sure I’m not going to let my daughter get bit. If that results in your fur baby getting it’s teeth kicked out, so be it. Keep control of your pet and none of these issues will arise.

  31. #31 |  Deoxy | 


    Pets are PROPERTY. Shooting your dog is legally equivalent to shooting your car.

    If your car is rolling onto my property, I can protect my property but whatever means is necessary to prevent any bodily harm to myself. I am not legally required to risk myself in ANY way. I am NOT required to be “in fear of my life”.

    I can quite legally, and quite happily as a conscientious libertarian, shoot your dog rather than risk being bitten (assuming it’s on my property, etc – that is, that I didn’t start the problem).

    The leash law example was simply pointing out that, even in the current legal environment (where libertarian principles are primarily treated as excrement to be disgustedly removed from the bottom of your shoe after a good trampling), the dog owner was the one at fault.

    That you apparently can’t understand any of that makes you the idiot here – calling you a troll was being politely assuming you were capable of higher reasoning and simply choosing not to engage in it.

    And you know what they say about assuming… of course you do – you’ve already taken care of your part of “you and me”.

  32. #32 |  Linda | 

    Prior to the dog pictured being shot, Boomer a 12 year old Golden Retreiver, with arthritis , wash shot and killed. It seems that killing is what prompted change to the policies. http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/st-petersburg-police-to-announce-policy-change-after-inquiry-into-shooting/1201971

  33. #33 |  PermaLurker | 

    Two more officers about to be charged in the Otto Zehm case.

  34. #34 |  Arthur | 


    2nd Verse:

    “That’s one law for me, and one for you!”

  35. #35 |  H. Rearden | 

    A father of a coworker had his coon dogs shot after they chased a coon onto an another property. The landowner received a short jail term and 2 years probation.


    From what I was told, the dog owners approached the land owner to enter his property to retrieve the dogs. The landowners brother goes to where the dogs have treed a raccoon. The landowner gets an attitude about the trespassing dogs, an argument ensues, and the landowner tells his brother by cell phone to shoot the dogs.

  36. #36 |  H. Rearden | 

    I’m falling trees on my rural property when a young, friendly and collared pit bull shows up. I’m a bit intimidated and unable to go about my business because the dog wants to nip and pull at the cuff of my pants. I don’t own dogs so instead of a dog chain, I use 1/2 inch nylon rope to tie the dog to a tree. It took about two minutes for the dog to chew through it and resume pulling on my pant leg. So I go inside, call animal control, and in 45 minutes the dog is happily jumping into the van of the animal control officer.

    I’ve euthanized a pet cat by gun in the past, so I have no real problem with shooting an animal. In this case, I doubt I would have been found at fault had I shot the dog, hell, it was a pit bull. But that thought never entered my mind.

    “I didn’t want to harm the dogs, but I had no choice,” Feigles wrote in a statement to Woltz.

    He shoots some yippy dogs that he knows belong to a neighbor because that are nipping at his heels. What a dick. And i hate yippy dogs.

    “Call the authorities.” Good one.

    Radley, I know your just making a joke an the expense of trigger happy, puppy slaying LEOs. But in this instance, there really was a better course of action for this guy.

    BSK @7 – your comparison to the Trayvon case is spot on. Is this what the Stand Your Ground statute is meant to protect? That merely feeling uncomfortable at the presence of another being on your property or in your neighborhood gives you license to use deadly force in an act of self-defense?

  37. #37 |  SamK | 


    I don’t know which small dogs you’re working with, but I carried mail for three years, and I guarantee the dogs I dealt with were more interested in eating my face than the ones in any kennel. I’m not saying they aren’t a small threat, but any remotely physically fit person can pin a dog in seconds. Human beings are damned strong. You smack a hand in from one side, grab an ear/throat/jaw and pin the fucker. I’ve held down probably a hundred dogs like this, some weighing almost as much as I do (~180lb). NONE of them were a real danger if I knew they were coming. Human hands are faster than they are, human hands are fuckall stronger than they are, and dogs have only a single vector for attack. Those teeth get into you it’s a problem, but they can’t bite left and right even if they (and you) think they can. They bite straight ahead, period. This vector is extremely simple to defeat, you don’t even need any training: You sweep an arm in from either side. If you can’t get a grip it knocks the dog away and if they try again you repeat until you get an ear. Ears are best, put a thumb in their ear canal and pin them down. You might get scratched, but if they kick? Punch them in the ribs a few times. They all settle down after that.

    …I’ve posted this on this site before. I’m slow, lack any real training, and not terribly strong. Dogs are only a problem in packs or if you’re afraid of them. Small dogs are nearly zero on the problem scale even in packs, though they are faster than the larger ones and harder to get hold of.

  38. #38 |  Pinandpuller | 

    I don’t let my dogs wear hoodies.

  39. #39 |  Deoxy | 


    I totally agree with you on the “one attack vector” part, and I completely agree that a human being should womp any single dog 99.9% of the time (if they keep their head).

    I am still not required to take that .1% risk to myself to protect your unsecured property.

    The landowner gets an attitude about the trespassing dogs, an argument ensues, and the landowner tells his brother by cell phone to shoot the dogs.

    In this case (from your description), the dogs’ owner is present to deal with them personally, there’s not even the slightest claim that the dogs are threatening anyone, and the landowner had them shot, essentially, out of spite.

    That is, he shot them for reasons other that protecting himself.

    Not sure that should be criminal (vandalism equivalent, perhaps?), but certainly in the wrong.