After seven days, the Ardmoreite has done a story on the dog shooting that consists largely of Chief Ken Grace’s statement. In it he says, “Witnesses stated that the dog had been aggressive toward several residents in the area and postal carriers.” After reviewing the reports and all the statements, the only witness statements that I have seen about Cali being aggressive were all made days after the dog was dead, in retrospect, none that Officer Woolly talked to before killing Cali, except for the postal carrier. Some of these didn’t even match the description of Cali. It’s very likely that many of the complaints coming out now about roaming pit bulls in that neighborhood were not Cali. Drive through the neighborhood and you will see several pit bulls in fences. In the complaints, some were red, some were brindle, some had different color collars than Cali had. Yet, there they are in the report as “evidence” that Cali (brown and white) was an aggressive dog.
Chief Grace also states, “Ardmore police and animal control also tried to located [sic] the owner of the dog and were unsuccessful.” I have not seen any evidence, nothing in the reports, and no official has been able to tell me just exactly how they tried unsuccessfully to locate the dog’s owner. Did they ask anyone in the neighborhood? Not that we can find. Did they attempt to track or follow the dog home? No. How can you say you “can’t” find the owner, if you did nothing to try?
When Sarah and I met with District Attorney Craig Ladd, the DA said that a necropsy would not be necessary to prove that Cali was not being aggressive toward Officer Woolly, because even the officer admits and wrote in his report that Cali was not being aggressive when he killed her. In other words, there was no imminent danger. Which matches the witness’ statement about what he saw before the shooting about Cali NOT being aggressive. Officer Woolly would have had time to ask the the witness, who had just pulled up with his kids, “Hey, do you know who this dog belongs to?”
The other thing about Ken Grace’s Statement is that he neglects to address one of the most disturbing things about this shooting for some people, and that is the officer’s statements afterward, saying it “was awesome” and the conversation heard about what to “say” in the report. Why does he only mention the witness’s statements that attempt to justify his officer’s actions, and not tell the citizens the whole truth about the other witness, who in my opinion is very credible.
He did not know Sarah before this incident, and he readily admitted to not seeing the actual shooting and so couldn’t speak to whether or not Officer Woolly was justified in killing Cali, if Cali tried to attack him or not. That, it turns out didn’t matter, because as I said, the officer admits in the report that Cali was not being aggressive; she was simply killed because he couldn’t capture her and couldn’t locate the owner. Even though the witness didn’t know Sarah, he did know where the dog belonged and could have told the officer if he’d have know Cali was about to be killed or if Officer Woolly would have taken a few seconds to ask him.
The witness also knew about the dog shooting two days prior from hearing Officer Woolly talk about the difference in how awesome it was to kill the dog with the shotgun vs the hand gun before. He would not have known about this prior dog killing if he hadn’t heard Officer Woolly discussing it. He just doesn’t seem to be making up Officer Woolly’s statements.
I learned though, at the meeting with the DA, that as horrible as the statements were, even if they were recorded for all to hear, they are not illegal, and according to the law, Officer Woolly did everything correct. So maybe it’s time to change our definitions of what’s correct? Do the citizens of Ardmore want it to be okay for an officer to kill a very beloved pet that is not acting aggressively, or harming anyone, and in the almost three year history that it would get out of the fence, never did harm anyone?
To describe anything about killing an animal as “awesome” should be concerning to everyone. At this point, it’s as though the witness doesn’t even exist. Of all the official statements to come out so far, no one has addressed the very inappropriate comments by the officer. Are we to conclude that they are true? No has denied making the comments. Will anything be done about these comments? If you knew for certain that he made the comments, would you be comfortable having an officer who feels so callously about a citizen’s pet being killed serving Ardmore?
This Saturday, March 29th, 2014 the group Justice for Cali will be conducting a protest at the Ardmore Police Department in an effort to get Dog Encounter Training for all Law Enforcement Officers in the city of Ardmore, Oklahoma. They will be meeting at the Ardmore Police Department, 23 S. Washington Street. The protest will start at Noon until 2 pm CDT. More information about that event can be found here.