Sheriff's Officer Criticized for Shooting Dog

Sheriff's Officer Criticized for Shooting Dog

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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds has been taking flak since one of his deputies shot a dog that allegedly was chasing a deer north of Park City.

"We've shot people up here and have had a fraction of the response," Edmunds said Tuesday.

Edmunds and county animal-control officials will discuss modifying procedures in the fatal Dec. 9 shooting of Jenny Schapper's 6-year-old dog, Rowdy.

The dog was shot near the Snyderville Basin's Trailside neighborhood.

Deputies said Rowdy was one of two huskies that had cornered a large buck.

"The two huskies were moving in on the buck. It was clear the buck would be killed," Edmunds said. The deputies "had used every conceivable means to make the dogs disperse," he said.

Animal-control officers brought Rowdy's body and a citation to Schapper's home.

"He was out in their truck, and I was crying and screaming. I kept asking, 'Why? Why did you shoot my dog?"' she said. "I just thought, 'How could you cite me knowing that my dog is dead? Can't you see I've suffered enough?"'

Schapper said she was too shocked to retrieve Rowdy but later asked her sister and a friend, Natalie Hatch, to recover the dog's body from the animal shelter.

Hatch said the pair was directed to a trash bin, where they rummaged around for the husky, which had been killed with a shotgun.

"It was the most horrific example of professionalism I've ever seen," she said.

Edmunds said that animal-control officers at the shelter should have been more sensitive.

"Had I been there, I would have dug that dog out of the Dumpster myself," the sheriff said. "I feel terrible about that. We will be rectifying that procedure."

But Edmunds said the bottom line is that dog owners must keep their pets under control.

"I've received 50 phone calls on this in the last week. It's an emotional issue," he said. "We understand dogs are a part of the community up here, but they cannot be allowed to roam free."

County Commissioner Sally Elliott said authorities will have to overhaul procedures.

"We may have to look at the sheriff using stun guns so they don't have to shoot to kill. We do it with people, and it's just as appropriate in dealing with animals," she said.

Elliott said residents must be shown respect by county authorities.

"We're going to have to have some customer-service training for our animal-control officers. You'll see this whole thing revamped," she said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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