WAS DOG LEFT OUT TO ATTACK POLICE?
Now that we know the deputies didn’t do anything wrong, maybe we can ask some more questions.
Like, was the dog out on purpose?
And was the dog out on purpose with the specific intent to harass or impede law-enforcement officers?
I’m talking about the demise of Diablo.
The big pit bull with the close-cropped fighting ears that was shot dead two weeks ago by two deputies of the Monroe County sheriff’s department.
It was about 11:30 at night and as the deputies walked up the driveway to knock on the door, Diablo came barreling out of the open garage, snarling and snapping, and the deputies killed him.
Thirty-six hours later it was a cause celebre. The owner and his surrogates were on every station and every channel. Various pit bull fanatics and anti-cop activists were marching in two counties and shouting for the deputies’ heads.
The dog’s owner insisted that they be fired, anonymous posters called for them to be dead.
Any number of idiots were quoted to the effect that the police needed training, that they were culturally insensitive, and that something called “breedism” was at play.
It was a rush to judgment and the deputies were damned.
Well, the investigation has been completed. On Friday, the results came out.
After reviewing what happened, after interviewing neighbors, after talking to the owner, after taking comments from the community, the sheriff came to a conclusion – it was a good shoot.
The deputies were responding according to their training, and as any reasonable person would have responded. They were in imminent danger, and they acted to protect themselves.
That answers that question.
So let’s ask another.
Namely: Why was the dog left out as he was?
And might the dog have been left out to endanger the police?
See, the investigation into the shooting of Diablo turned up some information that might indicate a visit from the police would not be a completely unexpected thing for this residence.
In fact, given past events and the conduct of the owner that night, a visit from the police was actually likely.
Which makes you wonder if the unrestrained dog was a completely inadvertent event.
Put more bluntly: Was this an accident, or a trap?
The dog was sleeping in the garage, but the garage door was open a foot or two, to provide the dog egress. There was an invisible fence, but it would not keep the dog from reaching people who had come onto the property by walking up either the walk or the driveway.
And the police had been there before.
Over and over and over again.
In fact, the Monroe County sheriff’s department had sent deputies to the home some 15 times before. Mostly they had gone out in response to complaints from neighbors and town officials about the homeowner’s tendency to park on the sidewalk. Neighbors said it was inconvenient and town officials said it was dangerous, and both had called out deputies to ask the man to pull his vehicle into his driveway or garage.
And that night the man had parked on the sidewalk – as he had been asked by law-enforcement officers more than a dozen times not to do. When this was observed by a patrolling sheriff’s sergeant, he asked deputies to stop out and ask the man to move his vehicle.
They were walking up his driveway to do just that when the man’s unrestrained dog attacked them.
He knew the dog was loose, he had to expect the deputies might come – was the latter the reason for the former?
Additionally, the home had had other contacts with police. Less than a year ago, it was the target of a search warrant executed by the Wayne County Drug Task Force.
It is not uncommon for officers working drug cases to encounter angry pit bulls left out for the purpose of hampering their efforts.
And Diablo was an angry pit bull.
Though characterized in the owner’s media onslaught as a loving, peaceful dog, that image wasn’t communicated by neighbors speaking to investigators.
At least eight separate neighbors came to sheriff’s investigators and described the dog as being a terror to those who walked or bicycled past the house. Though the yard was encircled with an invisible fence, the dog came to the very edge of the yard to ferociously bark at passersby on foot or bicycle.
Most pedestrians and bicyclists, in fact, told the sheriff’s department that they avoided the area, detouring down other streets, to avoid the dog, fearing that it would run through the invisible fence and maul them.
That’s the kind of dog Diablo was.
It was a home police were accustomed to visiting, at least some of those police were on a drug investigation, and there was a snarling pit bull on the premises.
Most of the time, that scenario is not an accident, and the dog has a purpose.
And you have to wonder if this time was any different.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012