EASTLAND, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com) – Two Eastland police officers reportedly received discipline, according to the Chief of Police with Eastland Police Department (EPD), after allegedly breaking protocol, shooting and killing a small dog who did not pose an immediate threat.
According to police, two EPD officers were dispatched to the 500 block of South Halbryan Street Sunday, January 29, in regards to a dog showing signs of being sick, and walking in circles. EPD Chief of Police, Tim Pitts told BigCountryHomepage (BCH) a woman tried picking up the dog and the dog went to bite her.
In a Facebook post, a family member close to the situation shared his side of the story. He shared that the dog, Lola, was blind, epileptic, and an emotional support animal (ESA) – not to be confused with a service animal. He theorized that Lola could have been scared because of her circumstances and being out in the cold.
Courtesy of Eric Diaz
Officers allegedly surmised that the dog had rabies, and fatally shot the dog. She was then left at the local animal shelter overnight, as police made contact with the family. Later that evening, officers learned that Lola had gotten out of her home, and her family was looking for her.
In reviewing the case, EPD said it determined that there, in fact, was no immediate threat. Chief Pitts said officers have a policy that if an animal poses an immediate threat to life, then officers have the authority to end their life.
In a case like Lola’s, Chief Pitts told BCH other actions should have been enacted. Instead of making the decision that the small dog was rabid, Chief Pitts said his staff should have reached out to an animal control officer to make that decision.
However, the two EPD officers involved did not contact Eastland Animal Control, and Chief Pitts said they were disciplined for those actions.
The police department purportedly reached out to Lola’s family to apologize, and are refreshing officers on policies regarding animals.
Eastland Police have not released the names of the two officers involved. BigCountryHomepage will provide updates, should any additional information become available.