September 11, 2014
A Baltimore police officer has pleaded not guilty to slitting a dog’s throat back in June and asked the judge to drop the case, The Baltimore Sun reported September 11.
Lawyers for Jeffrey Bolger are defending their client, saying he was legally authorized to kill a Shar-Pei after it had bitten a pregnant woman. Bolger said he was defending the unborn child of the woman at the time.
Bolger appeared in court September 11, where he and his attorney entered a not guilty plea to two counts of animal mutilation, one of animal cruelty and one of misconduct in office.
Sarah Gossard, the owner of a 7-year-old Shar-pei named Nala, told WBAL she didn’t doubt that Nala bit someone. Her dog was lost, alone and frightened. But Nala was secured on a catch pole at the time her throat was slit.
A medic at the scene said the dog needed to be tested for rabies, and without a safe way to secure the dog, Bolger says he killed the dog in the safest way he knew how.
Bolger’s attorney gave the reason for using a knife on the dog as
“Bolger considered using his firearm, but he determined that there was too much danger of a ricochet bullet injuring bystanders,”
“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.”
Bolger didn’t speak at the trial. His attorneys asked the judge to throw out the case against Bolger, arguing the prosecution had made mistakes in the way they filed charges. In an interview with WBAL, attorneys stated
“The lawyers also say prosecutors failed to establish probable cause for the charges against Bolger because no preliminary hearing was held. They also argue that Baltimore Police pursued charges against Bolger to protect “senior staff,” who lawyers say failed to properly train Bolger and did not outfit him and his partner with the equipment necessary to handle the situation. The motion states that the officers did not have a dog carrier or any sedatives on hand.”
The judge declined to consider the motion, and a trial date is set for November 7.