A Baltimore police officer is now facing felony animal cruelty charges after he slit the throat of a restrained shar-pei dog. Another officer, as well, has been suspended for helping him commit the crime.
According to witnesses, officer Jeffrey Bolger also threatened to “gut” the dog.
“I’m going to [f–king] gut this thing,” Bolger said as he got out of the police vehicle, according to witnesses, documented in the charging document.
The dog was relatively small and unintimidating to all who knew her. 7-year-old shar-pei named Nala had escaped from her home at Sarah Gossard’s house on Saturday. She made her way out of an accidentally open gate after Gossard had let her out in the backyard.
When a nearby resident Sandy Fleischer found Nala she tried to check the dog’s tags, but the frightened Nala nipped at her, causing a wound that was tiny, and superficial by all standards.
“The dog was more scared of not knowing where it was and being thirsty and disoriented. The dog bit me out of fear because I tried to touch it, which was my fault,” Fleischer said in an interview with local WBAL-TV. She added that Nala was not even remotely aggressive.
But when Fleischer called police, officers from the Southeastern District responded and corralled the dog in an empty lot, then capturing Nala with a long dog-control pole.
What happened next shocked everyone who witnessed it. Bolger pulled out a knife and slit Nala’s throat while Officer Thomas Schmidt held her down.
“One police officer said, ‘Let’s get the noose on the dog,’ and you could see the police officer twisting and hurting the dog, bringing it to the ground to the point where the dog’s face is on the ground. You could hear the dog screaming and crying in pain,” she said. “I did see one officer that had been extremely aggressive that did have his knee into her chest that was tightening the noose. It seemed (they were doing it) relentlessly and unnecessarily.”
Police spokesman Eric Kowalczy said agreed the killing was unnecessary, as the dog was contained.
“It was a complete violation of protocol. It’s not often police speak out against one of their own, but we are all truly appalled.”
BPD Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere said this was “outrageous and unacceptable” and that “officers were appalled by what they saw, as were other citizens,” he said.
“We have no words to describe this. To say they’re were appalled at the allegations I think is an understatement.” Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said. “As we stand here before you the officer is being arrested for a felony charge.”
“She was already restrained. It wasn’t necessary at all. It was just an act of cruelty. That’s what it was,”Gossard told WJZ. “I never thought in a million years the police would show up and cut my dog’s throat.”
Police also said that Bolger’s knife was not department-issued. His trial is expected to begin July 28.
(Article by James Achisa)