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It’s a story that’s happening all too often these days – police enter an unsuspecting dog owner’s property, unannounced and without warning, and shoot the family dog.
West Virginia State Police were searching the area about 7-miles outside of Milton, WV, where a fugitive was on the run. Johnathan Jeffers was to be questioned for allegedly threatening his wife, but when police arrived, he fled the scene and reportedly fired a weapon at police.
Troopers began searching the area at about 3:00am on Tuesday. After several hours of searching for Jeffers, police emerged from the woods and entered unrelated resident Ginger Sweat’s property. Her dog, a 6-year old Beagle-mix named Willy Pete, ran to greet the officers who then fired a shot at the dog.
Sweat says officers fired one time and missed, at which time Willy Pete began running toward the porch where she was standing, waving her arms and begging police to let her put the dog inside.
Sweat says that despite her pleas, and Willy Pete running away, they fired three more shots, killing the dog.
Sweat’s two children, ages 7-months and 18-months-old were sleeping inside.
Despite Sweat’s assertion to police that her dog would not hurt them, West Virginia State Police Lieutenant Michael Baylous said the dog was a threat, and troopers did what they are trained to do.
“Try to avoid it, if possible, but the trooper who fired the shots, it’s my understanding, waited until the very last second to fire that shot, in hopes that that animal would retreat,” Baylous told WCHS 8.
A Facebook Page has been created in support of Willy Pete and his family in an effort to bring this case to justice as well as to put an end to senseless shooting of family pets by police.
According to the Page, Justice for Willy Pete,
Innocent animals are being shot every day for no reason by trigger happy, badly trained police officers. It is said that every 16 minutes in the USA, a dog is brutally and needlessly shot by law enforcement. This is an alarming statistic and they are getting away with it. This has to stop! Something needs to be done before more innocent pets are murdered.