Dog's throat cut; Officer charged with animal cruelty Lost dog contained by police before officer cut it, officials saySubmitted by garnet on Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:06
It goes on and on..
Police were called Saturday morning to the 700 block of South Grundy Street in southeast Baltimore for a report of a stray dog that had nipped someone trying to rescue it.
Sarah Gossard told 11 News that her beloved 7-year-old shar-pei named Nala had somehow escaped the gate of her back yard that morning. While she searched for the dog, including posting pictures of Nala on a community Facebook page, nearby resident Sandy Fleischer said she found Nala a few blocks away looking confused and thirsty.
"The dog was more scared of not knowing where it was and being thirsty and disoriented. The dog bit me out of fear because I tried to touch it, which was my fault," Fleischer told 11 News reporter Kai Reed.
Police were called, and Fleischer said she watched as several officers used sticks to try to contain Nala, who she said wasn't being aggressive.
"You could hear the dog screaming and crying in pain," Fleischer said. "I did see one officer that had been extremely aggressive that did have his knee into her chest that was tightening the noose. It seemed (they were doing it) relentlessly and unnecessarily."
Fleischer then went into an ambulance, so she didn't see what happened next.
Police said the officers then secured Nala using a dog pole, and an officer assigned to the emergency services division, later identified as Officer Jeffrey Bolger, went much further.
"Unfortunately, at some point after the dog was contained, one of our officers used a knife and cut the dog's throat. This is outrageous and an unacceptable breach of our protocol," Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere said.
"We have no words to describe this. To say that we are appalled at the allegations, I think, is an understatement," said Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez.
Commanders said they know of no reason for Bolger to use such force on a dog that was under control. Nala later died.
"She was just the sweetest dog and would never hurt anyone. She was just scared that day, and through all of those events -- being scared and lost, thirsty, hungry -- yes I'm very sure that she bit someone, but the actions after that were not OK," Gossard said.
She told 11 News she didn't find out until Wednesday that her dog was killed in such a violent way.
"This dog had a collar around its neck with tags, with my phone number. It's not OK," Gossard said.
Bolger, who was also charged with malfeasance in office, has been suspended without pay. He was released early Thursday on his own personal recognizance, 11 News learned.
"Obviously, my anger is toward this police officer. I don't want him to have his job. I don't want him to be able to go out on calls and react like that to a person, to a dog, to anything. That's not OK," Gossard said.
Police are also investigating whether other officers who knew of the incident followed procedure to report it. Commanders said they "caught wind of it Monday," two days later.
Officials said Bolger has been with the Police Department since 1992.