Dog shot by police after accident: Was it a mercy killing or murder?

May 30, 2013

Readers, imagine you have a small breed dog, who gets loose and wanders into the street and is struck by a car. No one knows it’s your dog or where you are at the time of the accident. Imagine the police showing up on scene, and despite the fact your dog is conscious and alert, police make the decision to kill the dog. Is this a mercy killing, or just another dog shot by police?

This happened to Otis, a dachshund-Chihuahua mix who died at the hands of a Rockville Police Department officer. Michael Pivowar and another Rockville officer shot Otis on May 10. Despite an eyewitness who offered to take the dog to a vet for treatment, the dog was instead taken behind police headquarters, where it was killed with one shot to the head. This has now divided a town on whether police acted within the law.

Brian Lewis, who witnessed the accident on Ohio Street, told WHTI News “I’m almost 99 percent sure he’d be recovering” had those two Rockville police officers not intervened with Otis’s fate, said Bryan Lewis, an eyewitness to the accident on Ohio Street right at sunset. “He might still be at the veterinarian’s but he would still be recovering!” Sergeant Jeff Ramey, who witnessed the death, says it was a mercy killing for a suffering pet.

Police were more concerned with who would fit the bill for little Otis. They allegedly were more concerned with who’d foot the bill than in helping the dog. Most veterinarians have an up front payment rule where money is required when a pet is treated. Bryan had offered to cover the vet expenses, and his kindness was refused.

The officers defended killing Otis saying “This was the best option for the dog.” Excuse the language, but who died and make you God? How can death be the best option for a dog when there was a good change Otis would have recovered from his injuries? The logic of this statement is beyond comprehension. It may have made a difference had no one offered to take over treatment arrangements, including payment. This appears to be a case of police acting in the role of veterinarian. Which is illegal.

The residents of Rockville have recently started a petition, in which they state “We are sickened by the lack of professionalism, empathy, and compassion displayed by the two officers who responded to the scene and the blatant denial to allow a willing person to assume responsibility for Otis’ medical care.

We are outraged at the laws broken by these officers as well as the veterinary technician who made an illegal prognosis that resulted in the immediate death of a dog she had never seen.”

What the code emphasis’s s is that no one shall kill an animal without the consent of the owner. Listed below are the laws the officers have broken, according to Indiana law:

*Indiana Code 25-38.1-4-2 basically states that a trained and licensed veterinarian is the ONLY one trained to make a life or death decision on an injured dog, should the pet parents not be present. Not a bystander, not a vet tech, and NOT the local police.

*Neglect of an animal, as defined by Indiana Code 35-46-0.5, means failure to provide reasonable care for; or seek veterinary care for; an injury or illness to a dog or cat that seriously endangers the life or health of the dog or cat.

*That all appropriate euthanizations are carried out by a DVM or a licensed individual who is trained or associated with an animal agency

*Indiana Code 35-46-3-7, a person who has a vertebrate animal in the person’s custody; and recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally abandons or neglects the animal or commits cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor.

*Under Indiana Code 35-46-3-12 euthanasia must be conducted by a person employed by a humane society, an animal control agency, or a governmental entity operating an animal shelter or other animal impounding facility; and the person must euthanize the domestic animal in accordance with guidelines adopted by the humane society, animal control agency, or governmental entity operating the animal shelter or other animal impounding facility.

*Indiana Code 35-46-3-12 a person who knowingly or intentionally kills a domestic animal without the consent of the owner of the domestic animal commits killing a domestic animal, a Class D felony.

Congratulations, Rockville Police Department. You’re officers appear to have broken five codes under Indiana law, with one being a Class D Felony.

Readers, after reading this article, please express your opinion on how you feel this case should have been handled. And be sure to let us know whether the officers responsible for the death of little Otis should be charged with a Class D felony under the Indiana Codes regarding proper treatment of an injured animal.

Your comments are welcome.



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