Investigation into Dog Shooting Continues - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/05/2004

Investigation into Dog Shooting Continues

A dog died last Wednesday after being shot with a tranquilizer by an animal control officer. The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department's Internal Affairs Office has since been questioning people who saw the officer tranquilize the dog and are looking into whether the officer followed proper procedure.

The dog's name was Maggie. She was a two-year-old Labrador retriever that meant the world to owner Diana Thibodaux. Diana is she is seeking justice for Maggie's death.

Dozens of people have signed a petition demanding the police suspend the animal control officer who shot Maggie. Police want answers too, and are in the midst of their investigation.

Police say Maggie's owner was at fault because she knew Maggie could jump out of her fenced-in back yard.

They believe the officer was justified in using a tranquilizer gun to capture the dog--it's something they do an a daily basis. "All animal control officers are trained in the use of chemical immobilization," said Sgt. Mike Wilson with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. "They all attend a course that teaches them procedure for using chemical agents."

The part that's causing the controversy and prompted the investigation--did the animal control officer need to shoot Maggie with two tranquilizer darts and did they take Maggie to the vet soon enough?

"Once an animal has been darted of course the animal control officer has the responsibility to immediately take that animal to the vet, in all cases that's not feasible to do," said Sgt. Wilson.

Yesterday when we we spoke with Maggie's owner, she said it took them more than two hours to reach the vet. By then, Maggie was dead. "They didn't get her medical care, she had been tranquilized with enough, one tranquilizer is enough to take down a dog three times her size, they shot her twice, they had to know it was too much for Maggie," said Diana Thibodaux.

Police haven't released yet how strong the tranquilizers are. Apparently they are pre-mixed for animal control officers to use.

Another aspect police are looking into is the heat. Last Wednesday morning it was in the upper 70s.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly