Saturday, August 07, 2010

Justice for Bear-Bear - An interview with his family

While this blog is typically written tongue-in-cheek from Meeshka's point of view, the seriousness of this event compels us to temporarily break from that style.  We know that you all will understand.
 Like many of you, we have been following the tragedy of Bear-Bear, the Siberian Husky who was shot and killed on Monday August 2, 2010 in the community of Quail Run - a sub-division of Severn, Maryland.   Hearing about a meeting to show support for the family, we felt compelled to attend.  After the meeting at the park where Bear-Bear lost his life, we caught up the the Rettaliata's and asked them if they would be willing to talk to us and address some difficult questions about the incident.  They agreed - what follows is the story of Bear-Bear and how his life was tragically cut short in an instant.

The officer who killed Bear-Bear was not available for comment.

August 5, 2010
8:00pm

When asked why they brought their dog to the Quail Run Dog park, the Rettaliatas said that prior to moving to the community nearly a year ago, they had lived in an apartment. The allure of the community dog park just made them want to live here even more so.  It would enable their dogs could get proper exercise, provide an opportunity to socialize with other dogs, and enjoy themselves in a safe and secure fenced in area.  Rachel sadly recounted that “... I think it was Bear-Bear’s favorite place, so I think that’s what is really tragic” about the incident.

While not an “official” Anne Arundel County Dog Park, the Quail Run Dog park is privately owned, and considered a “dog run”.  All of the residents who bring their dogs to the park allow their dogs to run off-leash in the run.  There is reason for this - - experienced dog owners know that, generally, leashed dogs are more protective and aggressive when approached by other, unrestrained, animals.

Ryan recounted one of many occasions in which there where at least 15 dogs, including Bear-Bear, inside the run, playing, chasing, and having fun with no incidents or issues.  He further stated that his neighbor’s small child would regularly run up to Bear-Bear outside of the dog park, jump on him and hug him.  After the incident, they were told that no report would be filed by Anne Arundel County Animal Control, as neither of the dogs had received bite wounds, or scratches, and that no humans had been bitten or injured.   

Stephen Kurinij, brother to Rachel, was at the park with Bear-Bear at the time of the shooting.  Stephen regularly brought Bear-Bear to the park and was a regular at the nightly 6:30pm gathering of dog owners.  Stephen told us that he was already in the fenced dog park with an unleashed Bear-Bear when a couple with their leashed German Shepherd approached the dog park.  The couple asked if Bear-Bear was friendly, to which Stephen replied that he was, and the couple stated that their dog, Asia, was also friendly and entered the fenced in area, with Asia still on the leash.  Stephen was approximately 7 feet away from the couple, and saw Bear-Bear running up to greet the new dog in the enclosure and initiated play.  He said that the rough-housing, which was common and expected in Stephen’s experience at the dog part escalated quickly, with both dogs rearing up on their hind legs.  Stephen said that he felt the wife panicked as Asia, the couple’s German Shepherd, began tugging her as she held on to the leash. 

It was at this point, the man, yelled at Stephen to “go get your dog, break them up”, and as Stephen processed that information, then began to retrieve Bear-Bear, the man took two steps back, drew out a Glock 17 9mm pistol, aimed, and shot Bear-Bear.  It was only after the man called 911 that he inform Stephen of his status as an off-duty Federal Police Officer.  Stephen refutes the shooter’s claim that the he had tried to break up the “fight” and was subsequently attacked by Bear-Bear prior to the actual shooting.

While it is not uncommon for two parties to dispute the facts of any legal incident - it is important to note that the officers report clearly states that there were no other witnesses to the event.  To the knowledge of the Rettaliata’s and their neighbors to whom we spoke - the investigating officers apparently failed to check any of the homes which border on three sides of the park to determine if anyone else had seen the event.  However, after only a few short minutes ABC2 News was able to discover an eye-witness who, in a video interview, corroborated Stephen’s side of the story - that the officer did not attempt to break up the dogs before drawing his weapon and firing.

The family later learned from other residents that it was apparently the off-duty officer’s first time at the park.  According to other residents it was the officer’s wife who typically  brought the shepherd to the park alone, and always on leash, as it seemed skittish - that the off-duty officer, her husband, had not accompanied her in the past.

Once the Anne Arundel County Police and Animal Control arrived, Stephen informed the officers that Bear-Bear was not his dog, and he was instructed by the police to retrieve Bear-Bear’s owner.  A member of Animal Control also told Stephen that if the dog wasn’t taken to a vet for treatment, he (Stephen) would be charged with animal cruelty ... as Stephen rushed home to get Ryan, leaving Bear-Bear alone in the run, bleeding, both the police and Animal Control remained outside the fenced in area.

When Ryan arrived and rushed to attend to his wounded pet, an Anne Arundel County Police Officer instructed Ryan to stop.  Ryan, visibly upset, insisted several times that he wanted to go to his wounded dog, at which point an Anne Arundel County officer reportedly pulled and pointed a taser at Ryan’s chest and ordered him to stop.  Ryan knew that if he was tased, he would not be able to help Bear-Bear, so he complied, at which point the officer lowered the taser and told Ryan to go to his dog, but not to move him.

When Ryan approached Bear-Bear, his dog rolled onto his back as he always did to receive belly scratches, the same officer that pulled the taser yelled to Ryan that he was told not to move his dog.  While Animal Control and Ryan moved Bear-Bear onto a stretcher, the County police officers were talking to the now identified Off-duty Federal Officer and his wife and were also petting the German Shepherd.

The family is not sure of what procedures were followed, or not followed in regard to the off-duty officer firing his weapon.  Newly passed legislation HR-218 (also known as the “Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act”) allows off-duty officers to carry weapons under certain conditions.  However, a number of questions remain unanswered:
  • Under this legislation, are off-duty officers required to identify themselves prior to taking any lethal action?
  • Are officers who are involved in off-duty shootings required to undergo blood alcohol and drug testing?
  •  Following a such a shooting, is the firearm in question confiscated until the investigation ends?
  • Wouldn’t it be standard procedure to suspend or place such an officer on suspended leave until the investigation was over?
  • Whether HR 218 (which specifically states that it does not supersede state laws which prohibit the carrying of off-duty weapons to certain locations including public parks) even applies in this case. 
  • How are citizens who are obviously not allowed to carry weapons into dog parks expected to react in such situations - and why didn’t the off-duty officer respond in that way?
None of these procedures, except for initial inquiries of HR 218, were addressed in the initial “final” report, opened and closed on 8/2/2010  nor the supplemental report of 8/3/2010 - each of which clearly stated that “this case is closed”.

Ryan transported Bear-Bear to the Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic, where veterinarians subsequently performed exploratory surgery to determine the severity of Bear-Bear’s wounds.  The officer had fired on 9mm HydraShok round into Bear-Bear's abdomen.

A HydraShok is similar to a hollow-point round, except that the tip of the round is sliced during manufacturing so that when it is used - the round not only spreads out to a much wider width than the tip of the round, but actually peals open into a star-like shape, or shatters completely sending fragments through the target’s body.  It is designed to inflict maximum damage, and that is exactly what it did to Bear-Bear. 

One round from the off-duty officer’s personal weapon resulted in a ruptured colon and kidney, it  completely severed the pancreas, and perforated Bear-Bear’s intestines five times.  Severe blood loss would require many blood transfusions, and there was doubt that the pancreas could successfully be reconnected.

Some readers to the many articles covering this incident have speculated that  the dog could have been saved, but money was an issue:

“... we would have spent more...” Rachel said.  “... they did exploratory because they said if they had gone in, there might not be a chance, but if [the] exploratory surgery [revealed]  there might be a chance, we would have paid... we would have paid $10,000.  I would have never gone back to school, I would have taken a second job, and we would have done all of the physical therapy possible.  I could never have lived with myself if we had just said it was too much money.”  Ryan added that they just couldn’t go home not knowing they hadn’t given Bear-Bear every chance to survive.  “It took a $1.00 bullet to rip all of this away from us.” Ryan added sadly.

With his survival at a minimum, the family was allowed just a few minutes alone with Bear-Bear.  A few last moments to convey their love and grief for a dog who’s life started so horribly; whose future looked so bright thanks to a rescue organization and subsequent adoption by two young newlyweds; a life cut short after only 3 years in a split second of what appears to be a senseless act. 

At 12:15 A.M on August 3, 2010, Bear-Bear’s suffering ended as the veterinarians put him to sleep, a little more than six hours after the shooting.

Tuesday morning, August 3, 2010, when the couple arrived at the Anne Arundel County Western District Headquarters - they encountered a vacant building and a red phone with poor reception.  They just wanted some answers.  What was being done?  What was their recourse?  Could they get a copy of the police report?  Were they required to file charges?  They found that a police report wouldn’t be available (standard procedure) for 3-4 days, but that the case had already been closed.  When they asked to speak to someone in person, they were told that officers at the scene were not on shift, but after insisting on speaking to an officer, one came out to speak with them.  He informed them that the case was closed,  and that their only other recourse was a civil charge.  They were also told that Stephen was evasive during questioning.  “I actually have neighbors telling me that when they were watching them talk to Stephen, it looked like they were interrogating him, they weren’t even talking to him like a human being...” Ryan said. 

Rachel, and her brother Stephen, come from a law enforcement family.  Their Grandfather was a Baltimore City Homicide Detective, and from a young age they were “raised with the utmost respect for police officers, fire fighters, anyone that gives to civil service” according to Rachel.  “... but there’s always going to be a bad apple, so this is just about bringing out [the fact] that he can’t hide behind a badge, that he did wrong and its not ok.”

“From what I’ve heard, when he identified himself as a Federal Officer, they absolutely went with the assumption that the HR 218 Act, which allows all Federal officers carry arms across the United States, they thought he fell under that jurisdiction...” Ryan responded when asked why he felt the county closed the case so quickly.  “... so they didn’t bother to investigate, because alright, that’s your word, great.”  He further feels that this on-the-scene determination ruined their chance to accurately investigate.  “They didn’t even know there were witnesses.  There were a couple of kids sitting on this green box...” he points to a small green utility box on the edge of the park “... and one kid on a bicycle that a TV station found” who corroborates Stephen’s story.  “... it amazed me that how could you not go to these houses and ask if anyone was looking out their window, was anyone in their backyard, no one was walking through?” Rachel stated incredulously.  “Yes, Stephen, Bear-Bear and this German Shepherd were alone in this park, but look at it now, there’s people everywhere, driving and walking their dogs.”

Prompted by their parents, Rachel called the news desk at WBAL and the Baltimore Sun.  “The Baltimore Sun has been vastly instrumental in getting this whole thing out there” Ryan said thankful for their assistance in spreading the word.  Once word spread from the Sun article, the family then appeared on WBAL Radio with C4 and other local media outlets.  Word also spread when a post from a member of Tails of the Tundra cross-posted the article on Facebook and ignited a fire of angry dog owners.  Two Facebook groups; “Justice for Bear Bear”, and the similarly named “Justice for Bear-Bear” were started.  Combined the pages now have thousands of international members, and membership continues to grow daily. 

The family is overwhelmed and thankful for all of the support they have received, stating that it gives them the strength to continue.

The public outcry reached the office of John Leopold, Anne Arundel County Executive, - himself a dog owner - on Wednesday morning and he demanded the case be re-opened and thoroughly investigated.  Within hours of that announcement, the Anne Arundel County Police Chief released a statement that the investigation was ongoing.  The National Humane Society is now working with the Anne Arundel Police Department to investigate the matter.  The family reached out to PETA, but their automated voicemail states that they do not become involved in matters of police involved shootings because it is far too common.

Later that evening the Fort Meyer Police Department. where off-duty officer who shot Bear-Bear is employed, issued a press release.  In that release the FMPD stated that the officer had been on annual vacation during the incident, and that he had been cleared of any wrong doing by the Anne Arundel County Police Department who had jurisdiction over the incident - and that the officer was returning to work the following day (Thursday).

When asked how this matter would have been handled if the shooter had been a civilian, the family stated they were convinced it would have been handled much differently.  “They would have come out and confiscated the weapon, which they did not take his weapon, they probably would have taken him to jail, they probably would have given him a breathalyzer... there were a lot of things that would have been handled differently had it been civilian-based.” said Ryan.  “And we probably would have been treated, or at least my brother, as victims rather than someone that needed to be interrogated.” added Rachel

It should be noted that it is unknown whether or not the off-duty officer who shot Bear-Bear was tested for drugs or alcohol, but that a standard checkbox on the police report (which is now publicly available online) indicates there was no drug or alcohol use involved in the incident.

As to readers comments that charge the Rettaliata’s are using this incident as a catalyst for financial gain through a public lawsuit of the officer or his department the family again strongly disagrees.  Breaking down into tears, Rachel stated that “... financial gain will never bring Bear-Bear back, no amount of money will ever bring him back to us ... its about claiming responsibility.”  They feel strongly that Bear-Bear deserves a fair investigation, the officer needs to face up the split-decision that he made on Monday night - a decision that left a beloved family member dead.  They feel that he doesn’t deserve to carry a weapon or be relied upon to serve on a police force, whose purpose is to protect and serve the people. 

The community also expressed a lot of concern for their safety with the off-duty officer in the area.  Residents were shocked by their new neighbor after the shooting, stating that he and his wife were yelling at them saying things like “what would you do if you dog were attacked” and “you didn’t see anything”.  They also state that he was strutting around acting like a hero. 

Some residents are now hesitant to come back to the park knowing that the off-duty officer lives in the area.  “Its not the place it was anymore, it won’t be for a long time...” Rachel said sadly, “... but it is a safe place, not everyone runs to the dog park with guns on their hips...”  Ryan added that the dog park is the community meeting place for dog owners, reminiscing how his dog played joyfully with the other dogs and even children, citing how his neighbor’s 2-year old child “... just runs up to my dog and jumps on his neck and hugs him, so ... bringing him down here was a very safe situation for us, and I would really, it would break my heart if people stopped showing up and that part of the community stopped to exist... that would be a travesty.”

On August 5th, at 6:30 pm under storm darkened skies and rain, local supporters gathered at the Quail Run dog park, an impromptu meeting arranged through one of the Facebook groups.  Citizens brought
their dogs, children, flowers, and signs to show their support and condolences for Bear-Bear.  Three local law enforcement officers stood at a respectful distance from the gathering.  Local media had earlier reported a “police presence” for the event, as it was expected to be a very emotionally charged gathering.  Those fears however were ill-formed, participants simply gathered near the fenced in dog run and talked amongst themselves and comforted the Rettaliata family despite the continued rain.

 At one point, Ryan strode across the park and shook the hands of each of the three officers - thanking them for coming.


Most of the participants were regular visitors to the many Maryland dog parks,
and discussed how they were prepared to deal with some unruly dogs, possible issues, even fights during their visits, but none could fathom the possibility that an armed person could simply shoot their dog, no matter what the circumstances.  Some explained their methods for peacefully breaking up dog fights.  How leashed dogs can feel constrained and vulnerable when approached by an unleashed dog and how it was the sometimes written and always unwritten rule of dog park etiquette to immediately remove the leash after entering.

 In the rain, as unleashed dogs playfully ran within the confines of the dog run, with their excited yaps, and sometimes growling rough play, Ryan spoke to the crowd and expressed his family's thanks for the outpouring of support and condolences.





A representative from the County Executive's office reiterated Mr. Leopold's promise of a full and thorough investigation of the matter.





At one point, Ryan was asked to identify the shooter.  His response was to emphasize that due to high tension and comments made online, he would not release the man's name, adding that we all needed to allow the justice system to run it's proper course.  Retaliation against the man or his dog isn't an acceptable option or a solution Ryan stated.


Behind the Rettaliata’s, in the dog run where Bear-Bear had been shot, a dog stopped and sniffed at the spot where Bear spent his final moments in the dog park he loved as the rain slowly came to an end and rainbow appeared in the distance.

50 comments:

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

INCREDIBLE!!!

Thanks!

Khyra's Human
P.S. No Alien kidnapping twist to his crappy story...YET?

Samantha said...

I know we haven't visited for a very long time, but you did an amazing and objective job of interviewing Bear Bear's family and pulling known facts together. While we recognize certain truths in the old maxim of, "All is fair in love and war," we'd like to switch it out to "There are no rules when it comes to love and war" in this case. We ache so much for Bear Bear's family.
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie and crew

ra_husky said...

We echo the heartache that has been expressed by so many, thank you for helping us all stay informed...

Joan said...

Thank you for posting this. I just cried as I read it. Justice will be done for Bear-Bear, for the family, for the community, for all of us -- for we are all connected! I have to have faith in that.

Indy said...

Meeshka, please thank your humans for this excellent interview. Skillful and compassionate reporting.

Tanuki Maxx said...

Thank you so much for posting this!

Maxx and family

Critters in Need Pet Rescue said...

This made me cry. I can't help but feel that you brought this tragedy home to many people. Thank you for that.

Cyber-sibes said...

Thanks for taking the time to interview Bear-Bear's family. We can't imagine how heartbroken they must be. I got LES at your beautiful closing, I also saw pictures of the rainbow on a post somewhere, and, in spite of the tragedy, Bear Bear is letting everyone know he's safe and happy over the Bridge.

Jack & Moo's mom

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Thank you for the update on Bear. Just read it in time to add your link to our post for today.

Simcha said...

Thank you, Penny. This made my human cry all over again...

Simcha

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

Thanks for this. I'm really, still so filled with shock, rage and grief that I can't think of anything to say. I hope Bear Bear's family can find their peace.

Sweet Praline said...

Thank you for the update. My mom may be a cat mom now, but she grew up with woofies (collie, cocker spaniel and a pekingnese). We are just heartbroken about all of this.

Summit the Super Mal said...

Meeshka...your Human Woman did good!!

The Whiskeratti said...

This is beyond horrible. We feel so badly for Bear-Bear and his family. The man who shot him should NOT be a federal officer; his judgment is clearly not trustworthy.

The Thundering Herd said...

Excellent, excellent work!

Huskylover1974 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Huskylover1974 said...

Thank you for doing this story. AS my mommy read it, it brought tears to her eyes. Me and my sister want bearbear's family to know that they are not a only the husky world stands with them and suffer the lose as well. AS I was once was told when I lost my mate by my mommy "they are never really gone from us. They are now up in that big doggie park playing with the other lost puppies waiting for us to join them. They are waiting just on the otherside of that rainbow bridge. And when that time comes we will be reunited with them once again." Me and sister snowie send our love from our husky hearts to beabear's family.

AFSS said...

We are crying for Bear-Bear and his family. We did a post today about how cops are all to quick to kill family pets.

FiveSibesMom said...

Thank you for the family of Bear-Bear interview. It certainly brought tears to my eyes. This is indeed a sad and tragic story that is being heard around the world. I would like to link it to my FB and FiveSibes blog with your permission. Our thoughts are with Bear-Bear's Hu-family. Thank you again for the heartfelt story.

Stella said...

Thank you for writing this excellent piece about Bear Bear's death.

We are all, animals and humans, lessened by the act of this shooter and it is my hope that something good will come from it through the justice system.

Stella and her Mom, Jo

Bethlynn said...

This story is so upsetting. As an owner of four huskies it outrages me how this has happened. My brother is a law enforcement officer and a dog lover as well. How can anyone justify using a 9mm weapon to break up a supposed dog fight? I had to break up a true dog fight about two years ago and almost lost the end of my finger in the process but the thought never even occurred to me to use any type of a weapon. I required stitches and a lot of medical care to save my finger but I would do it again in a heartbeat. The so called "officer" that shot his weapon could have easily shot and killed his wife if she happened to jump in. On top of that, he fired after he had called Stephen over there and could have shot him as well. If this was a true dog fight I guarantee that Stephen would have been there breaking it up. It doesn't sound like there were any wounds to the German Shepard. How can that be if he was "being attacked"? There is absolutely no excuse for this and I hope that the officer that did this is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!
My thoughts and prayers go out to Bear Bear's humans and I hope that they know that the world stands with them in this!!

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Thank you for doing this - great report. We are all hopeful some good will come from this horrible tragedy.

Anonymous said...

If you press Ctl 5 in Adobe reader, the redaction lines are essentially removed from the police report.

Anonymous said...

That may be (re redaction) but we all need to remember not to take things into our own hands. One tragedy has already occurred, it doesn't need to be complicated by another person seeking vengeance. And its not my intent to say someone here would do such a thing. Let the justice system work and keep disclosure of the shooters name to ourselves.

- lobsterman

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree with not taking things into one's own hands. Just pointing out that the Police Dept. released a document that was not secure.

Molly said...

Me and my momma joined the facebook groups last week. I is only a little Yorkie but even I know thats somes dog play differents to others. Take me for example I don't play much cos I am blind but other dogs don't know that and try and play with me but I can gets a bit grumpy ( I am a girl of a certain age you see ) and I do ( although it is very rarely ) very, very occasionally let other dogs know that I don't want to play. Generally they are fine when told and when Moms explains I am blind. Once though someone told my Moms I should not be out if I gets grumpy. I can't type what my Momma told them as it would be rude of me.
Please drop by my bloggy tomorrow as I am giving you an award

Luvs
Molly ( The blind grumpy old girl.....bol)
xx

Painter Pack said...

Amazing and powerful account of the shooting. I hope and pray that justice prevails.

Painter Pack

KT and Lady said...

I found your blog as a dedicated Khyra fan. Outstanding reporting about this horrible tragedy. Ryan is very wise to take the stance that he has about the shooter. No use wallowing in the mud with the rest of the lunatics.

Lady and I spend a lot of time in dog parks, both here in Shoreline, WA and in Phoenix. I plan to use this tragedy as an example of why a "NO GUNS" sign should be posted along with the pick-up-your-poop sign at every off-leash dog park I use. Since dogs can't read, I guess we all know where the disfunctionality lies where dog and human socializing are concerned!! I will be speaking directly to our City Council members. They are very involved in the success of our dog-parks.

Anonymous said...

Sad fact is the police will protect the police. They will not fairly investigate the shooter. They will protect him and his reputation. It happens every day in police departments across the country. And I support the police, but not the practice of protecting one another at the expense of right and wrong. I am so sad for the family and hope that they are able to find some justice for Bear Bear. If enough noise is made by the media, the police may give into the pressure. We can only pray.

Mango said...

I am crying reading that account of what happened. There are no words for how horrible it was. I have no doubt that the family of Bear Bear just want justice, that's all. Is that too much to ask?

Mango Momma

Eye On Annapolis said...

This was very tragic and there shoudl be some more information tomorrow.

Eye On Annapolis has been following and reporting on this all week and will continue until there is some real resolution. Each week, we do a "Top Ten" list of the most popular stories. Never in the past two years has one story taken all ten spots! Bear-Bear and the actions of this FPO have really struck a chord!

Anonymous said...

What I find amazing is even as a federal officer he has such lax weapons handling rules. As a Marine who served in three combat tours we had much tougher and stricter rules for us to use our weapons. If I were to use my weapon to shoot an aggressive dog I would have faced severe punishment. I was not there to see what happened but, huskies are not known for being aggressive, but still to turn to your weapon as the immediate response is unprofessional.

Ozzie the OZmonster & Zowie said...

I am so so sad regarding this issue.

I just wrote the Today Show in hopes they will bring this to a national audience. We all need to know that it is ok for a cop to come to the dog park and should he feel the need, shoot and kill a dog for the hell of it! BS!!!!!

I have to stop or I am going to smash my computer.

Sorry all,

John

Holly and Khady said...

Thank you for such a well written article. I still feel deep pain over this and continue to pray per Bear-Bear's family to get justice.

Holly and Khady

Sychoberians said...

Thanks for the article. We will continue to follow this story and hope justice is served for Bear Bear and his family.

Remy and Flash

Anonymous said...

The jerks name is Keith Shephard it was posted on ABC in DC. Please write your local governments stating you do not want this man serving our country in anyway. I personally knew Bear-Bear. He was an amazing animal and a fun loving dog who played with my dog all the time. They were great friends. This was so sad.

rox said...

I honestly cannot believe this could happen ! the police officer sounds like a nut job !
I don't usually label or call names but this is really sad . two dogs even if they were fighting , which it does not sound like they were , as an owner of two husky mix this is what they often do and it is also easy to break up if it does get out of hand . also that officer should be disciplined for putting that man at risk ! what if he had shot the man !
I'm sorry but because this person who shot bear bear was a police officer it is very common for them to try and protect their own . I doubt if anything will come of it . , It goes to show just to stay with your group of dogs at the park and be leary of new comers until they have fit in with the group .
we also meet with other doggies and know the common behaviours of these pack animals . that couple clearly did not know even their own dog never mind other peoples dogs .

Anonymous said...

This is a disgrace. If you are off duty you are NOT ALLOWED to utilize your weapon and if he is a FEDERAL POLICE OFFICER then they need to petition their local congressman regarding this issue. There needs to be justice for Bear-Bear. To make matters worse you threaten someone with a tazer because they want to go to their injured dying pet????? Who does he think he is God??? Just because he is an officer??? I am a federal employee and they need to go thru federal channels to get this rectified. How their saying its with in animal controls jurisdiction is beyond me there are federal rules in place for all federal employees. I hope they think to pursue it federally and I would definitely bring civil suit charges against that officer. Not for the money but for the awareness and justice. What if something happened and he hit a human being like a child????? It's a disgrace.

Au and Target said...

What an absolute bastard that man is. And shooting a gun at a public park? Is he nuts?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your factual report. We are still waiting for Justice for Bear-Bear.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Las Vegas so I apologize in advance for not having all the facts about local laws where this occurred, but I'm confused as to why this was written in the blog:

"citizens who are obviously not allowed to carry weapons into dog parks"

Not only was this not obvious to me, but beyond absurd and i suspect unconstitutional. Who would assume that it's obvious that one must disarm before entering a dog park? I don't get it at all.

Are you saying that your city actually has a law barring firearms from dog parks? Because everyone else around the country would be shocked if so, especially those of us in Las Vegas.
Who would put up with that? I can't see any legal reason to ban guns from a dog park unless it's on school/govt. property.

and about hydashok's hollow-points. Thats standard civilian self defense ammunition, period. the only other option for civilians would be round-ball Target ammunition which is not and never was intended for self-defense, only target shooting. ALL rounds designed for proper self defense are hollow point, period. Hollow points are the standard self defense ammo design because it has stopping power and will stop a lunging attacker.

I'd have to say that 100 percent of both civilians and law enforcement carry nothing less than hollow points in their self defense carry for years and years now.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymouse in Las Vegas (two part answer, part 1) -

My apologies to those out of state. I wrote the article from the point of view of the Marylander who knows about our ridiculously restrictive handgun laws.

Not only are we not allowed to carry in parks - we aren't allowed to carry PERIOD! Well, you can ask the State Attorney's General for a permit - but more on that later.

Suffice to say that unless there is a state in the US where citizens are out and out not allowed to purchase weapons of any kind - there are no more restrictive handgun laws than in the state of Maryland.

First the application to purchase is two pages long, each the length of your arm. It contains a slew of questions regarding your arrest history (regardless of the outcome of charges) and any answer in the affirmative results in the denial of your purchase.

Every so often the question of bullet registration arises in our state legislature, the idea being that each bullet would be serialized - brilliant. (A few years ago we got involved in politics trying to get a law passed here and I'm convinced the adage is true - never underestimate the stupidity of politicians). I am told by dealers they are currently required to account for the sale of each and every round by type, caliber, and customer.

Now, once you have your handgun, and bullets - you are forbidden to take it anywhere except directly to and from an authorized range. The weapon must be carried in a container separate from the ammunition and must be unloaded and cannot be within your reach while transporting.

As far as obtaining a permit from the state to carry a concealed weapon (the only way you can carry a weapon) - forget about it. Maryland is one of only ten "May" Issue states (sub-clause Restricted) meaning you must have a concealed permit to carry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States). However in reality Maryland is really a "Shall Not Issue" state (tongue-in-cheek) as I understand it's damn near impossible to get one. Maryland is also a NON-RECIPROCITY state meaning "we don't care what papers you got from home son, you can't carry that here." Now this doesn't make sense to me, doesn't that violate a couple Constitutional Amendments? Something about commerce comes to mind - but what do I know?

At one time I read the requirements. Suffice to say that unless you have been raped, murdered, then drawn and quartered you ain't getting one. Ok ok I exaggerate .... a little. You have to provide proof and cause for need to include any risks your life is under - say you are a business man who must frequently carry a butt ton of cash, that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous in Vegas - long response part 2

At one time I read the requirements. Suffice to say that unless you have been raped, murdered, then drawn and quartered you ain't getting one. Ok ok I exaggerate .... a little. You have to provide proof and cause for need to include any risks your life is under - say you are a business man who must frequently carry a butt ton of cash, that kind of thing.


Here are the steps to get a carry permit as listed on:

How to Get a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Maryland | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2064603_get-permit-carry-concealed-weapon.html#ixzz0wO8oRjx3

Step 1
Have your photo taken. All applicants must submit two 1 1/2 by 1 1/2-inch passport-type photographs. These are taken on a white background with full face and shoulders in view but no hats or dark glasses. Photographs must have been taken within 30 days prior to submitting your application.

Step 2
Get fingerprinted. You will be required to submit a set of fingerprint cards which include one orange and white CJIS-011 card and one blue and white FBI applicant card bearing the code "ORI-MDMSP6000." These can be obtained at your local Maryland State Police barracks.

Step 3
Ensure that you have three references from reputable citizens. These people should have known you for at least two years but are not related to you.

Step 4
Provide evidence of recent threats and/or assaults. This information is mandatory for personal use permits and must be supported by police reports and/or notarized statements.

Step 5
Submit your application and payment. Double-check to make sure you have filled this out correctly and included all of your supporting documentation. By doing this, you can help to significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to investigate your application.

Step 6
Wait approximately 90 days. At the end of that time, you should receive either your rejection notice or your permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Now of course the payment is non-refundable, so its just another tax. This year our legislation attempted to pass a bill (I am told) which would have created an application (and fee) that would be required before you could fill out your application (and fee) to purchase a handgun. Seriously? An application to apply?

To my knowledge, in the 16 or so years that I have lived here, the only people to discharge weapons in Maryland (outside a range) and not be charged with some crime - have been politicians and police officers.

- The human man (aka Lobsterman)

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous in Vegas - long response part 2

At one time I read the requirements. Suffice to say that unless you have been raped, murdered, then drawn and quartered you ain't getting one. Ok ok I exaggerate .... a little. You have to provide proof and cause for need to include any risks your life is under - say you are a business man who must frequently carry a butt ton of cash, that kind of thing.


Here are the steps to get a carry permit as listed on:

How to Get a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Maryland | eHow.com

Step 1
Have your photo taken. All applicants must submit two 1 1/2 by 1 1/2-inch passport-type photographs. These are taken on a white background with full face and shoulders in view but no hats or dark glasses. Photographs must have been taken within 30 days prior to submitting your application.

Step 2
Get fingerprinted. You will be required to submit a set of fingerprint cards which include one orange and white CJIS-011 card and one blue and white FBI applicant card bearing the code "ORI-MDMSP6000." These can be obtained at your local Maryland State Police barracks.

Step 3
Ensure that you have three references from reputable citizens. These people should have known you for at least two years but are not related to you.

Step 4
Provide evidence of recent threats and/or assaults. This information is mandatory for personal use permits and must be supported by police reports and/or notarized statements.

Step 5
Submit your application and payment. Double-check to make sure you have filled this out correctly and included all of your supporting documentation. By doing this, you can help to significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to investigate your application.

Step 6
Wait approximately 90 days. At the end of that time, you should receive either your rejection notice or your permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Now of course the payment is non-refundable, so its just another tax. This year our legislation attempted to pass a bill (I am told) which would have created an application (and fee) that would be required before you could fill out your application (and fee) to purchase a handgun. Seriously? An application to apply?

To my knowledge, in the 16 or so years that I have lived here, the only people to discharge weapons in Maryland (outside a range) and not be charged with some crime - have been politicians and police officers.

- The human man (aka Lobsterman)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know why so many questions have not been addressed nor investigated... some coverup or vagueness in order to protect the officer?
How aggressive was the german shepherd? Why wasn't it let off its leash? (not sure if their dog was aggressive? perhaps) Why did Mrs Shepard appear scared when her shepherd pulled her towards Bear? How could the Shepards say their dog was not aggressive when this was their first visit to this park? How long was Asia, the shepherd, in the park before aggression was shown between dogs? How long was Bear in the park without aggressive incidents? Was it really aggressive actions or playful biting as large dogs are known to do? Does the officer know the owner of the other dog?
Has he had awkward moments with the other owner before?
Was his personal dog properly trained?
Was the deceased dog properly trained?
Why did the officer take a personal weapon to a dog park? Was he looking for trouble?
Why was there no time given to the owner of the other dog, to respond before the weapon came out and shots fired? Why couldn't Mrs Shepard handle pulling the dog away with the leash? Why didn't the officer assist Mrs Shepard with pulling the leash. Couldn't they pull the leashed shepherd towards the gate in order to separate them? Why didn't the officer try to grab his own dog... a dog he was familiar with.. (he didn't want his own dog to snap at him perhaps?) Why did he attempt to grab a dog that he was not familiar with, especially if he felt that dog was aggressive? Don't officers have any training on dealing with aggressive dogs... other than shooting them? Cant he think what would citizens without guns do in this situation? A distraction of some kind usually stops the aggression long enough to get your dog out of the situation. like charging after the dogs, pouring a water bowl on the dogs, toss a ball or something into their path. I carry a spray bottle of water with me to the dog park, this has been very effective in slowing/stopping aggression between dogs. Please get some of these questions answered. A gunshot did not need to be the solution in this instance.. All other avenues to diffuse the situation were not attempted. Please encourage spray water bottles to be taken to the dog parks along with the plastic bags, water bowls and toys...just part of the items to bring on a dog outing!

Anonymous said...

My daughter was sexually assaulted four years ago. She was 12 at the time. For two years we watched her slide into a thick depression that even medication could not pull her out of. And then in an act of desperation, we moved her 2000 miles away from everyone and everything.While exploring our little town, we found a Husky breeder selling Husky mixes- momma found the German Shepherd next door Quite appealing. My daughter, holding that puppy, smiled for the first time in two years.I don't think she put him down for a few weeks. Yuki( Japanese for snow) is now full grown, beautiful, smart and loving and all hers. And she -at sixteen now- has devoted herself to learning about dog care- diet, exercise, training,etc- to the point where even our adult friends call and ask her advice. She has three now, all Husky mixes, and all well trained dogs. She takes all three to the dog park, and is quite comfortable stepping in to stop agression. But a federal police officer is so scared he draws his weapon and fires at the DOG? He could have easily put a warning shot into the ground- distracted the animals long enough to pull them away.How can you own a dog and NOT know anything about them? How could it possibly be that a 16 year old girl, who has more reason than most to be fearful,would be better able to handle herself in that situation than an adult FEDERAL police officer?? It scares me to even think about it!
My heart goes out the BearBear's family.I can not begin to imagine your pain,frustration and your anger.I do see your patience and hope that I would be able to respond with such dignity and graciousness in such a tragic time.

Police role play said...

It's a terrible tragedy. Dogs occasionally get into fights, it's normal. He was overreacting when he fires up his gun.

Anonymous said...

Chato's Mommy

My name is Chato(wooof) and my mommy it's crying as she is reading the Bear-Bear sad estory... I am here on her side, licking,and conforting her, because she is afraid that something sooooo horrible, irresponsible, unfair, etc. like that could happen to me (I am a beautiful chow chow).I can't even imagine the loneliness Bear-Bear was feeling while laying there by himself with bulletts in his body waiting for his parent to confort and save him. I WOULD PUT IN JAIL NOT ONLY THIS DOG KILLER, BUT THE POLICE OFFICER THAT PREVENTED and THREATENED WITH A TEASER, Ryan TO GO and be WITH Bear-Bear WHILE HE WAS DYING ON THE GROUND!!!
I feel really sad for Bear-Bear and for his family. I just hope that this "UN-HUMANE", ignorant man suffer ALL the possible consequences...and more...
But, I am sure Bear-Bear is in a much better place right now.
Wooooooooooooooooof.....
Bear-Bear we will fight until the end for you... We will put this horrible man in its place...JAIL!!!don't matter how long it takes...
And, I will meet you someday and play with you at the Raimbow Bridge... Wooooooooooof

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I have 2 dogs myself that I love and would be just as hurt to have anything happen to them so I understand the pain people feel. However, I am a Police Officer and based off of known facts to the case, I have to say that any officer would have done the same thing. It doesn't even matter if a police officer was involved. Any civilian has an inherent right to denfend themselves and as long as they had a CCW, would have been justified in the shooting. How about you let the investigators investigate, let the lawyers argue the case and let justice decide whether he is innocent or guilty. Stop trying to be judge, jury and executioner. All I see is a bunch of google lawyers screaming false rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

... to the supposed police officer who posted that he had two dogs and would have done the same thing... I'm also a police officer. I have a (non k-9) GSD. Just a lovely pet. If one of your dogs gets a bit dodgy with my dog, I'm glad it's ok by you if I shoot your dog. Then, of course, you could shoot at me, an i could shoot at you, and we'll all have a fun bullet party! Talk about 'talking out your butt.'