Dogs & Laws

Rookie Police Officer Shoots, Kills Beloved Family Dog

VernA Maryland family is seeking justice for the devastating death of their beloved dog at the hands of a rookie police officer.

Vern was a 4.5-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, born of champion bloodlines (his father won Best in Breed at Westminster), and a beloved, treasured member of his Glen Burnie, Maryland family.

While investigating a recent burglary in the Reeves’ neighborhood, an Anne Arundel County officer says he was confronted, and attacked, by Vern. He fired two shots, killing the dog who has been described as gentle and friendly.

The officer then told Vern’s stunned owner, Patrick Reeves, “I’m really, really sorry. I just had to shoot him.”

Anne Arundel County Police Chief, Kevin Davis explained to WJZ CBS Baltimore, “Our police officer states that he then turned to leave the front door of the residence, went down the steps and in the driveway, and when he turned, the officer reports that he was then confronted and attacked. I just want to assert to everyone that as their police chief that I’m going to take these matters seriously.”

For now, the officer is on paid administrative duty while an investigation into the shooting takes place.

The Reeves family and neighbors are outraged and frightened by the shooting.

“I’m terrified. Someone else could be dead and not just my dog,” said Vern’s owner. Reeves insists that the officer could have used pepper spray, mace, or his baton instead of firing his weapon.

This shooting only exemplifies the need for police training on animal behavior and what to do in the event of an encounter with a dog. It was recently shown that half of all intentional police shootings involve a dog. At what point do our nation’s law enforcement agencies make a change?

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Tanya

    Feb 9, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing Vern’s story.

  2. donna

    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I am with Rick, someone shoots my dog then I will be in jail for shooting them! These cowardly cops make a bad name for the few good cops!!

  3. Rick

    Feb 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I think I would be in jail if it was my dog (read:SON) that this jackwad shot..
    He wouldn’t have been able to pull the trigger with either hand anymore….

  4. Tara Gabe

    Feb 5, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    It makes you wonder how the officer had time to get his gun out, aim (in a residential area) and shoot if he turned and was attacked.

  5. Doris Bedoya

    Feb 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I have a Labrador and if anyone goes near my house barking like crazy and acts like a normal dog who guards his house, he is going to know if law enforcement of the law, but never attacked, the polcia is suddenly scared , I react by shooting, because he had the gun in his hand ready, is another thing, but does not justify his attitude was completely wrong, huboera able to leave a boy and shooting him equally, if not look at the camera if any.
    the police must respond by that fact.

  6. Linda

    Feb 5, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Some people are just flat out terrified of dogs, could have been the case, but not inexcusable. It is a horrible life changing experience to see one of your family member shot right in front of your eyes…to most of us, our pets are our family.

  7. GSW

    Feb 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    So was the dog loose in the front yard or behind a gate or fence? If it was on the loose then the owner has some responsibility in what happens to the dog if not the the officer should be held accountable and if the owner has the ability to do so they should file for animal cruelty charges and a civil suit for damages to personal property.

    • Barbara

      Feb 5, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Even if he was loose, he was on his OWN property. Playing in his own yard. So now what, we can’t even let our pups play in the yard? The officer came onto their property, the dog was not a dog at large. He was in his OWN HOME.. This is just beyond sad once again. Where in the world has all this violence come from… I remember our dogs playing in the yard with us, out in the street, playing ball. Now they are being killed in our own homes, inside our yards, inside our houses. If you open a door now, and its a police officer, they shoot your pets before they even speak to you. I have seen articles about officers killing little 4lb dogs because they “Feared for their lives” really seriously 4lb dog against an almost 200lb grown man. I just don’t know what to say anymore.

    • Linda Stapleton

      Feb 7, 2014 at 12:11 am

      The dog was in it’s own yard. Remember, there is also something called an invisible fence. Some dogs are trained to stay in their boundaries. An animal should be safe on their property, period. The officer was literally trespassing, the crime being investigated had nothing to do with the property owner.

  8. Pam

    Feb 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I have read several recounts of what the officer said and they conflict with what is reported here. When Vern’s owner asked the officer how he may help him the officer said ‘I unloaded on your dog. Your dog attacked me, and I killed it.’, not “I’m really, really sorry I had to shoot him.” No matter. I’m sure the officer will be put back on the streets.

  9. Gloria McAllister-Roop

    Feb 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Good luck to the family in getting the justice Vern deserves.

  10. Karma

    Feb 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Vigilante justice at its best. Of course we know the “thin blue line” is going to “find” that the officer was in the right. Another cop who got into the career just so he could carry a gun….

    • Troy

      Mar 4, 2014 at 12:18 am

      Isn’t that why people live in the States, so they can carry a gun and shoot things?

  11. Virginia

    Feb 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    What the hell is wrong with some of these police officers? Jeezus H …

    • Linda Patterson

      Feb 6, 2014 at 10:04 am

      they are idots, most police are a joke.

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