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Cop shoots family dog.


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A horror story from CNN. I think I would snap. I'd probably be screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and stuff like that.

This guy needs to be fired. Next time its going to be some innocent person.

Video shows police killing dog
Family considering legal action against police, highway patrol

COOKEVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) --Police video released Wednesday showed a North Carolina family kneeling and handcuffed, who shrieked as officers killed their dog -- which appeared to be playfully wagging its tail -- with a shotgun during a traffic stop.

The Smoak family was pulled over the evening of January 1 on Interstate 40 in eastern Tennessee by officers who mistakenly suspected them of a carjacking. An investigation showed James Smoak had simply left his wallet on the roof of his car at a gas station, and motorists who saw his money fly off the car as he drove away called police.

The family was driving through eastern Tennessee on their way home from a New Year trip to Nashville. They told CNN they are in the process of retaining a lawyer and considering legal action against the Cookeville, Tennessee, Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol for what happened to them and their dog.

In the video, released by the highway patrol, officers are heard ordering the family, one by one, to get out of their car with their hands up. James Smoak and his wife, Pamela, and 17-year-old son Brandon are ordered onto their knees and handcuffed.

"What did I do?" James Smoak asks the officers.

"Sir, inside information is that you was involved in some type of robbery in Davidson County," the unidentified officer says.

Smoak and his wife protest incredulously, telling the officers that they are from South Carolina and that their mother and father-in-law are traveling in another car near them.

The Smoaks told CNN that as they knelt, handcuffed, they pleaded with officers to close the doors of their car so their two dogs would not escape, but the officers did not heed them.

Pamela Smoak is seen on the tape looking up at an officer, telling him slowly, "That dog is not mean. He won't hurt you."

Her husband says, "I got a dog in the car. I don't want him to jump out."

The tape then shows the Smoaks' medium-size brown dog romping on the shoulder of the Interstate, its tail wagging. As the family yells, the dog, named Patton, first heads away from the road, then quickly circles back toward the family.

An officer in a blue uniform aims his shotgun at the dog and fires at its head, killing it immediately.

For several moments, all that is audible are shrieks as the family reacts to the shooting. James Smoak even stands up, but officers pull him back down.

"Y'all shot my dog! Y'all shot my dog!" James Smoak cries. "Oh my God! God Almighty!"

"You shot my dog!" screams his wife, distraught and still handcuffed. "Why'd you kill our dog?"

"Jesus, tell me, why did y'all shoot my dog?" James Smoak says.

The officers bring him to the patrol car, and the family calms down, but still they ask the officers for an explanation. One of them says Patton was "going after" the officer.

"No he wasn't, man," James Smoak says. "Y'all didn't have to kill the dog like that."

Brandon told CNN that Patton, was playful and gentle -- "like Scooby-Doo" -- and may have simply gone after the beam of the flashlight as he often did at home, when Brandon and the dog would play.

The Tennessee Department of Safety, which oversees the Highway Patrol, has said an investigation is underway.

'Could have been avoided'
Cookeville Police Chief Robert Terry released a statement on the department's Web site Wednesday night describing the department's regret over the incident. The Cookeville Police Department site was not responding Thursday morning.

"I know the officer wishes that circumstances could have been different so he could have prevented shooting the dog," Terry wrote. "It is never gratifying to have to put an animal down, especially a family pet, and the officer assures me that he never displayed any satisfaction in doing so."

Terry said he and the vice-mayor of Cookeville met with the family before they left "to convey our deepest sympathies" for the loss of their dog.

"No one wants to experience this kind of thing, and it's very unfortunate that it occurred," he wrote. "If we had the benefit of hindsight, I'm sure some -- if not all of this -- could have been avoided. I believe the Tennessee Highway Patrol feels the same way."

The department is conducting an investigation to determine what, if anything, could have been done differently, he said. Police also plan to be in contact with the Smoak family, Terry said.

The Smoaks buried their pet at home. A white cross marks the grave

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Guest Anonymous

Immediately i was upset but when you think of this as the officer he is ot sure what is going on thinking that he is dealing with dangerous criminals. He would most probably not believe much they were saying and when the animal approached him he was of course scared and nervous, what breed was the dog, they likened him to scooby-doo (a Great Dane) in that the size of the dog would have played a part as well. Now if you were to stop criminals and then cuff them and have them on the ground and then as your kind of milling around trying to get things straight you hear them yell and this huge dog starts coming your way, would you not be just a little nervous? Not saying that he acted appropriately but this is a good case of why your animals should be crated on car rides. I DO NOT condone the action of the officer but he did act in a reasonable way, especially not knowing his history with dogs, and whether or not a similar situation had happened to him and resulted badly. There are just a lot of variables in this. :(

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Guest Anonymous

Hi, I am new to this site & message board. When I saw this story last last, I was so disgusted & upset that I am determined to do everything I can to help this family get justice for what happened to "Patton", their pet.

I would like to ask the Officer at what point he tought the dog was charging him. Was it when he jumped out of the car & started wagging his tail?????

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:agrue: Sorry...but I can not see or agree with your point. The family TOLD this moron in blue they had a dog, they asked that the door be closed...this was not done.

The dog was romping about and wagging his tail. Does that sound like a "killer" dog to you!!!!

The cop had other options such as allowing the family to corral the dog.

He selected instead to blow the poor animal's head off!

I fail to see why you seem to think this was justified.

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:mad: I can not bear to watch the video...but it show a bull-dog type dog....not very big...coming out of the car and turning to his family with his tail wagging.

The jerk cop at once points at the dog and blows his head off.

My brother has been a cop for 30 years...I am not anti-police...I just hate the rogues like this moron. He should not be a cop.

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Guest Anonymous

sixjollydogs,

I do agree that the cop over-reacted but you are thinking as a pet owner/lover. Think of this as a cop youve got a large dog bounding toward you not sure of the temperment, because you may not know dog body language all you know is that its coming at you you have its family on the ground cuffed at gun point, most canines are ot going to be happy to meet you in these circumstances, I know i would feel sorry for anyone in that situations where my dogs are concerned. Secondly do you know anyone that has been biten by a dog? Have you ever seen the way that they react when confronted by a strange dog, my cousin was attacked by a stray as a kid and even puppys make him extremely uncomfortable. I know that if he had a gun in hand a dog approached him friendly or not his fear would win out and he would shoot it. Not to justify the action just to say that you dont know all of the circumstances to persecute the officer like that.

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Guest Anonymous

not to mention the fact that as a bully breed the tail is NOT an indicator of the dogs mood. Bullys are actually quite happy and wagging thier talkes when they are fought in the dog ring. Not saying the dog was upset just saying that is another factor that comes to play.

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My point is that the dog was NOT large and he was not moving or charigng this cop.

The cop was told he was there and that he was friendly.

The family asked to have the door closed.

Your reasoning has been used far too many times to justify hasty and wrong-headed actions.

Deadly force should not be the first resort.

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Lets see now....hmmm

1. an innocent family is stopped and held at gun point
2. they are made to kneel at the side of the road with their hands on their head.
3. the dog is NOT large
4. the dog does not charge the cop.
3. they get to watch a beloved pet blown away.

Yep...you are right....we sure are persecuting this poor innocent cop. I am all for dragging all pets out of the car and shooting them based on your "reasoning"......who knows ...they could be a real danger!!! :mad:

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Guest Anonymous

Stop getting offensive.

I am attempting to bring to light the other side of the argument, I am not saying the cop was right and do not wasnt to be replied to as such. What i am telling you is that without knowing the full situtaion you are not being fair to the cop. The size of the dog is a factor execpt for Bullys the smaller ones are just as dangerous as the big ones the cop propably overreacted, no better yet he definately overreacted but we trying to see why.

maybe i need to see this video. Where is the link to see it?

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I think you should realized that outrage at cruel and hasty behavior is NOT offensive. Comments that perhaps it was acceptable ARE!

It was the actions of the cop that were offensive. His police car had a video. The whole sad sick story is there. The dog was not aggressive. He did not charge the cop

It is trying to rationalize and state that perhaps he had a reason that is offensive.

He had several options:

1. close the door so the dog never got out.
2. move around the car
3. fire a warning shot

And most of all...insure the folks you stop are guilty of something before you go acting like the Gestapo. These folks did nothing wrong.

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Guest Anonymous

Dont twist my words, Im sorry but its not possible for my to discount anyone without knowing whats going on now if the rest of you want to mob up and go hang this guy thats fine, I personally dont judge unti li know everything. by the way I AM a bully owner and by tat statement i mean that small bully breeds are actually in better shape faster more agile and in the worng hands more dangerous than the big ones. That is why they small ones won out in dogs fights and when you see game bred APBTS and bullys you do not see these huge 100lbs giants but small 60-70 lbs atheletes.

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Here's the story written by another paper with some additional details. I have nothing but respect for most cops, but as with any organization, there are some bad apples. This particular gentleman is obviously unsuited to being a police officer. The worst thing is, probably nothing will happen.

Now I'm freaked out about traveling in my car with my dogs.

The dogs were bulldogs.

printable version police/prisons news

'Felony stop' leaves family traumatized
by repost

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Guest Anonymous

R n P, are you a Libra? Libras (I am) are very quick to see both sides of the story.

I can understand you point. I really can, BUT, I do NOT feel the cop was right. I want him gone. NOW. I will make a phone call to the "cop shop" when I'm off work.

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If you read some of the related links of my latest post, there is another story saying the cop in question has been re-assigned to "administrative duty".

Supposedly, from the video, the time between the dog jumping out of the car and the officer shooting him was 3 seconds.

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Guest Anonymous

OKAY!! NOw i see what your saying that second report had lots more facts, the A---hole was laughing, SKIN HIM!! He thought it was funny and his partners were grinning. Actually I am an Aries, but I try to be fair because i know how the one-sided story goes, your railroaded and guilty before your even tried. But this was pretty open and shut once i got the full story, I personally would have kicked him in the head for shooting my dog, and probably got shot myself.

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Guest Anonymous

[quote name='sashagirl']Ok, I did it... I watched the video... Now I hate myself! :([/quote]

How did you watch it? CNN wants to charge me to see it......

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