Owner ‘feels sick’ after OPP admit killing dog they thought was a coyote
A video shows an OPP cruiser running over the animal then backing over it. An officer then shot the animal.
Karen Sutherland knew the day was coming when she would have to say goodbye to her 21-year-old dog Merrick.
She could never have imagined, however, the dog's life would end after being intentionally hit three times by a police cruiser then shot and killed by a cop.
The death of Merrick, her constant companion since she adopted the German shepherd-cross from an animal shelter in Alberta 18 years ago, was caught on video and posted to Facebook. The incident has since made national headlines.
"I feel sick about the whole thing," said Sutherland. "I wish it wasn't my dog."Merrick went to work with Sutherland every day, most recently while she worked as a gardener.
"I've had her my whole adult life," said Sutherland. "She's been through five or six relationships with me. People used to say 'Oh my god, is she sill alive?' and I used to always joke that she was still alive to look after me."Merrick was completely deaf, but otherwise healthy.
Sutherland has seen only a small portion of the video footage captured by a witness of her dog's death, but that was enough to make her sick."She's just the sweetest little animal," said Sutherland. "I just feel so bad for my dog. After all this time I've had with her to lose her like that."
The Collingwood woman is angry at the police officer and cannot understand why he or anyone would run over an animal multiple times.
"Even if he had just gotten out and shot her," she said. "Or just got out and realized that's not a dangerous coyote, that's a dog."
Merrick escaped Sutherland's yard when a windstorm blew over a piece of the fence. The dog was wandering on Seventh Street when neighbours mistook it for a coyote and called police. One nearby resident Kelly O'Neill shot video on her phone of the police responding to the call. "[The dog] was just kind of lurking around. It had its head down; it was just wandering around," O'Neill. "It wasn't afraid of the police car."?
O'Neill said, when the officer arrived, he nudged the animal with his car.
"When he first got there, he nudged it and he ran over it a second time and a third time and then he shot it," she said. She posted the video to her Facebook page, where it was picked up by Simcoe.com and has since made national headlines.
"I thought it was disgusting," she said. "I knew what he was doing was wrong. I just wanted people to see that it was really inhumane and the wrong decision to make."The video shows the cruiser running over the dog and shows the officer shooting the dog.
The fallout from the incident has been difficult, she said. "I barely slept last night, I barely slept the night before. It keeps replaying in my head," she said.
"There is a bunch of negative attention online and people are blaming me, saying I caused all of this. I never wanted any of this to happen. Dog or coyote, what the officer did was completely wrong."?
O'Neill said she was devastated to learn it was a dog, not a coyote. "I feel bad that I've got it on video and it turns out it is someone's pet," she said.
Neighbour Christine Soti can be heard screaming "oh my God," and "stop it" on the video as she witnesses dog's death.
"It was very upsetting," Soti said. "I'm an animal lover and to see something like that …"
Soti said she initially called the OPP and animal control because at one point, the animal was on her front lawn.
"It was dark, it was raining, it was lightning, it was pretty bad weather," she said. "It was standing right out front here and I went, 'that's a coyote.' It looked very much like a coyote. There is something not right with this animal. He had his nose to the ground the whole time."
She was concerned because 13 cats had disappeared from the neighbourhood over the last several months.
While it was disturbing to watch, Soti feels bad for the police officer.
"That police officer was just as shaken as we were," she said. "It was a very hard task for him to do. He had no choice, he couldn't shoot it on people's property. He had to get it on the road. In order to subdue it so that he could shoot it, he had to run it over. What was he going to do? I feel just as bad for him."
Police released a statement Oct. 20 calling the animal a "coyote" and saying the animal was "aggressive" and possibly "rabid".
Collingwood Detachment Commander Insp. John Trude confirmed Oct. 21 it was a dog.
At first glance, the animal looked like a coyote, according to Trude.
"After everybody has had a good close look at it, it's a dog," he said.
The professional standards bureau of the OPP is conducting an investigation into the matter. The officer responsible has not been relieved of duty.
"All that I will caution is sometimes video isn't what it exactly seems to be," Trude said.?
There are a number of considerations officers must take into account when dealing with a call about a wild animal, he said. "If the officers find it that way, they have to take into consideration the potential danger to other domestic animals in the area, maybe other people and [ask themselves] 'do I have to destroy it?'"http://www.thespec.com/news-story/59708 ... -a-coyote/