Dogs shot, owners at odds with police

OVERTON, TX (KLTV) - By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

OVERTON, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas couple is furious over their dogs being shot by a police officer and are looking at possible legal action.

It happened back on April 17th when officers were called to an Overton residence on Ballbark Road where they shot two dogs that were fighting with each other.

We talked with the dogs owners Tuesday.

While they still question whether this was necessary, police say there was no other way to stop the attack.

A Catahoula named Rodeo and an American Bulldog named Boomer were shot by an Overton police officer during a dog-on-dog attack - something the owners say did not have to happen.

"There were gunshots going of at my house...so I rushed over here to find my 3-and-a-half-year-old American Bulldog laying on the porch with blood everywhere," said Tara Whitfield.

The police report shows, an officer shot one dog behind the front leg, not wanting to take a chance that either dog would have attacked a person or another animal. Again, the Whitfields contest that, saying one dog was still tied up when shot.

"They were never going to hurt anybody else and the one they shot first he was tied up," said Brandon Whitfield.

"I was never afraid to have my child around any of the dogs," said Tara Whitfield. "I had neighbors that always played with my dogs."

The police report verifies that an officer shot Rodeo, which had inflicted wounds to the other dog, and that another shot was fired to separate the dogs.

"The only thing that I saw that was causing the blood was the gunshot wound," said Tara Whitfield. "They could have maced them or shot the ground to scare them."

"Man, it's just heartbreaking," said Brandon Whitfield. "I don't see where they were justified in shooting my dogs."

Whitfield says they had never had a problem with the dogs before.

"No, I had never had anyone come to my door," she said.

But, there had been at least one other incident, a call from nearly a year ago shows an officer was bitten by one of the dogs. But, the Whitfields remain steadfast.

"I just want my voice heard," said Tara Whitfield. "...I want awareness and prevention for these animals because I don't think that was right. I think that was animal cruelty."

"I don't want this to happen six months down the road to somebody else," said Brandon Whitfield.

For now, the Whitfields have hired a lawyer to pursue legal action.

Both dogs have been buried.

While Overton police did share the police report with us, so far, police and city officials have declined to comment on camera.

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