Former Rains Co. deputy pleads not guilty to animal cruelty char - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Former Rains Co. deputy pleads not guilty to animal cruelty charges

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Jerrod Dooley during an interview earlier in 2014. Jerrod Dooley during an interview earlier in 2014.
Candy Middleton sitting on her owner's front porch. (Source: Family photo) Candy Middleton sitting on her owner's front porch. (Source: Family photo)
RAINS COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A former Rains County deputy pleaded not guilty to an animal cruelty charge that resulted from his response to a burglary call in April.

The attorney for Jerrod Dooley filed the plea on Wednesday afternoon. An arraignment was scheduled for Thursday morning at 9 a.m., but Dooley's attorney, Peter Schulte, sent a letter to the court saying he was not notified of the arraignment date and time and had a scheduling conflict. Schulte also filed paperwork waiving the arraignment.

Dooley was fired for his handling of an April 18 burglary call on Cole Middleton's property in Rains County. During the call, Dooley shot and killed Middleton's dog, Candy.

The Rains County Sheriff's Office and Dooley received numerous threats after the story of the shooting of Candy, the blue heeler, was first reported on Monday. Dooley said it is a call that he still thinks about daily and understands why Middleton was so angry.

"I tried walking back to the truck; before I could get there the dog made another attempt to come out of the truck," Dooley said. "She was barking real loudly, ears pinned back, she was coming at me very fast."

"I tried everything I could to get away from her," he said while breaking down crying. "Told her to get back, and she wouldn't get back and I fired two shots."

Dooley recalls when he had to tell Middleton about shooting Candy.

"Before we start, your dog charged me," Dooley said. "I had to shoot it. He got upset, which is understandable. I'd be upset if it were my dog. I love mine like he's my son."

For the dog's owner, who buried Candy on his property this week, words cannot bring back his worker and best friend.

Candy's owner, Middleton, says he will never forget what happened, but he is beginning to forgive Dooley for his actions. He says his family has received financial donations from supporters and are hoping to start a non-profit to better train officers in how to deal with situations like this.

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