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Last April, Sulphur, Louisiana police officer Brian Thierbach became the center of an investigation after he shot and killed a dog that was restrained. Yesterday that officer was charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty.
Brandon Carpenter, a traveling musician from Portland, Maine, along with his 14-month-old Newfoundland-Labrador-golden retriever mix, and his friend, Logan, had just arrived in Sulphur by train. Seeking shelter from the rain, the trio hopped into the back of an empty box truck in the parking lot of the Southwest Daily News newspaper.
About 10 minutes later, they were ordered by a police officer, at gunpoint, to get out. When the officer told Carpenter to secure his dog, he tied the 90-pound dog, named Arzy Kensington, to a nearby fence using the dog’s 4-foot leash.
The officer asked Carpenter if his dog was friendly and, according to an eyewitness, then approached the dog, whose tongue was out and tail wagging, and pet him for a few seconds.
About 20-seconds later, Carpenter, who was handcuffed and ordered on the ground, facing away from his dog, heard the fatal gunshot.
The officer claims that Arzy tried to attack him, but the witness, a newspaper employee that watched the entire incident unfold, says the dog simply playfully bumped into him. The witness explained to KPLC TV, ”The dog never growled or bared its teeth, never bit the officer.”
Carpenter and his friend were charged with vehicular trespassing and released a few hours later. Officer Thierbach resigned from his position in May.
The Bangor Daily News reported:
An internal affairs investigation into Thierbach’s actions found that he had violated the Sulphur Police Department’s policies and procedures regarding the use of force, personal conduct and behavior. Police Chief Louis Coats said in a news release issued in May that he was a dog lover and was deeply saddened by the incident, and that Thierbach’s resignation was accepted so the officers and community can heal and move forward.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the former officer. His bail has been set at $20,000.
Carpenter says he will remain in Sulphur until justice has been served and the officer has been tried and sentenced.