Almost everyone who knows me knows what happened to Brock & Darci’s dog. My mom submitted a letter to her local paper about what happened, but they won’t publish it unless it’s cut down to 300 words. I don’t think it’s possible to do that, so I’m posting it here. The paper is planning to write an article about it, & I’ll post the link once that’s done.
Things to keep in mind when reading this:
- Cole was missing for 13 days & signs were posted all over town.
- Animal Control had been contacted & offered to place a cage in the area he was seen in the next time he was spotted.
- My mom, Brock, & Darci were searching for him every single day.
- Animal Control policy (per the supervisor) is to tranquillize a pet to bring them in for treatment. Cole was clearly a pet & had a collar & tags, but was shot along the side of the road.
- The Animal Control officer took Cole’s collar off & dumped his body in the landfill before contacting Brock. The dumping of a pet is also not in line with their policy.
- He lied about what happened & it took a phone call from my mom about getting Cole’s body for cremation to get the real story out of the guy. He said he shot him because he didn’t think he could get him with the loop & was afraid he would run off into the woods.
- The officer went to the landfill & picked up Cole’s body after his shift was over then brought it to my mom’s house so she could have him cremated. He also admitted to my mom that he could have handled it differently.
- The officer didn’t bother to file a report for 5 days.
- The only reprimand the animal control officer is getting is a letter placed in his file about dumping the body. Nothing about not following procedure for the rest of it. No suspension (we expected that), no retraining, just a letter & back on the job without missing a beat. At least in Galena Park, they admitted that the officer was wrong & action was taken against him.
- This particular officer has been on the job for 24 years. One would assume that he would be quite familiar with their policies.
My opinion is that even if he really thought Cole wouldn’t make it, he should have followed procedure & tranquilized him. I don’t know what shape he was in, but it’s somewhat conceivable that Cole was in such bad shape that he would not have made it after being given the tranquilizer. (I don’t think this was probably the case for a number of reasons, but I didn’t see him & much like the officer wouldn’t be qualified to make that determination.) Even so, he would have been given a chance & it’s much more humane treatment than shooting him in the head. I realize it’s crass to keep repeating that, but it’s what he did. Cole was very loved and deserved better than that.
I’ll never understand why he shot Cole, but I don’t think he did it out of compassion. If he had, he wouldn’t have felt the need to lie or tried to cover things up. He would have called Brock & told him that he found Cole, but he was in such bad shape that he put him out of his misery. I still wouldn’t have thought it was okay since he is in no way qualified to make that decision, but it would have been better than killing him & dumping his body. By doing so, he disrespected Cole as well as those who loved him. The man disgusts me.
I’m not posting his name, but I will say that if you go to the Wexford County Animal Control site, he’s the only one with a mustache.
On to the letter:
My family has a very special relationship with pets. We have always seen them as family and losing someone this close to you is incredibly hard, especially when the loss is so unnecessary and pointless.
Every summer I watch my son’s dog named Cole while he and his fiancée are on vacation. Cole was a black four-year-old Great Dane who was as sweet as he was big. Cole was an enormous, funny dog, who was afraid of strangers and would often sit on my lap as if he were a lap dog. I always looked forward to having him. This year the unthinkable happened. A door was accidentally opened and Cole ran outside and disappeared.
My son ended his vacation and we immediately launched a frantic search. We placed an ad in the newspaper and on the radio. We nailed dozens of brightly colored posters all over Manton and tried to find him before he got hurt. The Wexford Animal Control offered to place a cage in an area he was recently seen to try to lure him in with food. Soon people began calling to let us know where they had seen Cole. It was incredibly frustrating to miss him every time, sometimes by a matter of minutes, but we continued to spend countless hours looking. Cole had his collar and tags. He was healthy and well taken care of. Even as the odds of finding him dwindled, we never gave up hope and were determined to continue to search.
We had searched for 13 days when my son received a call from an animal control officer who said we could pick up Cole’s collar and tags. The officer told him that he had found Cole in very bad condition, with porcupine quills lodged in his throat and barely able to walk. The vet had done everything he could, but he could not be saved. His body would not be available for cremation. He was simply gone.
It was only after I called the officer to understand why we could not pick up his body when I found out what really happened. Cole is very scared of strangers and tried to walk away when he was found. The officer chose to shoot him in the head, because he was afraid that Cole was going to disappear into the woods. Rather than show basic human kindness and follow procedure to tranquilize the animal for treatment by a veterinarian, he opted to kill Cole along the side of the road. Before even attempting to call my son, Cole’s body was dumped on a landfill like common trash.
We have no way of knowing whether Cole could have survived. He simply never had a chance. Cole was loved very much. He was a member of our family. I will never forgive myself for letting him get away, but the thought of him suffering, alone and afraid for 13 days before being senselessly shot on the side of the road makes his loss unbearable.
Our animal control services are there to protect animals when they need us most, rather than provide expedient disposal of them when they become an inconvenience. We fervently hope that other families never experience the heartache we have and Wexford County takes the necessary steps to avoid needlessly hurting animals in the future.