RAINS COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The former Rains County deputy who shot a dog after responding to a burglary call on April 18 has now been indicted on animal cruelty charges.
According to the Rains County District Clerk's Office, 32-year-old Jerrod Dooley has been charged with a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years behind bars. Dooley was fired on April 24 after threats were made against him and the sheriff's office following the controversial incident.
Dooley's attorney Peter Schulte said he would have had his client testify before the grand jury regarding the case and he's disappointed that did not happen.
"This is clearly a political knee jerk reaction by the DA in Rains County and there’s no chance that this case will stand up in court," said Schulte. "It’s a legal impossibility because he was acting within the scope of his employment as a public servant. We look forward to our day in court.”
Schulte added that neither he nor his client have been contacted by Rains County.
Dooley has not been arrested and it is unclear if an arrest warrant has been issued for him at this time. Schulte said if a warrant is issued, his client will make arrangements to comply.
Rains County homeowner Cole Middleton arrived home around 11 a.m. on Friday, April 18 and discovered his home had been burglarized. Middleton said his guns, iPad and his wife's jewelry had been taken.
Middleton called 911 at 12:46 p.m. At 2:41 p.m., Dooley arrived at the home. Middleton said when Dooley arrived to investigate, he claimed the dog was about to bite him and shot the dog to defend himself.The Middleton family says the necropsy report by a veterinarian proves that Candy was shot in the back of the head.
During a tearful interview in April, Dooley tried to explain why he shot the dog.
"I tried, but I didn't think I could get away from her," he said haltingly. “I told her to 'get back,' she wouldn't get back ... and I fired two shots."
The dog's owner said he thinks the indictment is a stepping stone in getting justice for Candy.
"Obviously the grand jury felt there was enough evidence there to bring an indictment against Mr. Dooley," Middleton said. "I really hope this helps further the call and the need for Candy's Law and getting officers trained to deal with non-aggressive and aggressive dogs as well."