Video has emerged showing a Nevada police officer fatally shoot a dog before lying to the animal’s owner by telling him it “attacked” him.
According to police, Nye County Sheriff’s Deputy John Tolle responded to the Pahrump home of Gary Miller on April 10 after his security company reported multiple panic alarms at the residence. Miller, a world-record holding power lifter and certified firefighter, had sat on his keys setting off the alarms. After realizing his mistake, Miller called his security company to tell them what happened.
That didn’t matter however. Tolle still responded to the home despite the fact that a Pahrump Central Security employee called the Nye County Sheriff’s Office and updated a dispatcher about the situation. In footage recorded by Tolle’s body camera the Deputy can be heard disrespecting motorists as he makes his way to Miller’s home.
“Oh, you’re an idiot, aren’t you?!” he said on the full version of his body-cam footage. “I mean, you’re just a new kind of stupid.”
After arriving at Miller’s residence, Tolle did not follow appropriate department procedure and entered Miller’s fenced in yard without first seeing if there was an animal in the area.
“Generally what we’ll do is bang on the gate or make some kind of noise to see if there’s a dog on the property,” Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said. “But because of this type of call, that didn’t happen.”
The body-cam footage showed Tolle approach Miller’s front door as Miller’s pit bull Blu barked in the background. After Tolle knocked on the door, Blu rounded the corner of the home and ran toward the Deputy.
“Don’t do it doggy. Don’t be vicious. Stop it,” Tolle said before fatally shooting at the animal, first firing from approximately 20 feet away.
Blu was seen on the footage falling off of a concrete porch into the weeds before Miller answered the door angrily and asked, “Did you shoot my dog?”
“He just attacked me,” Tolle responded falsely according to the body-cam video. ” He’s attacking me!”
“Jesus Christ,” Miller said. “I’m walking to the door and he shoots my damn dog. Why didn’t you stand at the gate? I would have came out to you. That’s the most pleasant dog you could imagine.”
Watch the raw footage:
On the full length body camera video Tolle was heard laughing about the shooting with another officer.
“Maybe Ill get time off now,” he stated. “This is why I cant deal with dog lovers. . . It is what it is.”
According to Miller, Blu had been in his family for almost six years after they first rescued him as a puppy.
“I look for him every morning when I walk out,” Miller said. “If the dog’s wagging his tail, even if he’s barking and growling, he’s no threat. My dog was still wagging his tail when he was laying on the ground bleeding to death.”
In a press release sent out by Nye County Sheriff’s Office, police officials maintained that Blu “charged the deputy, attempted to attack him,” was an “aggressive animal” and posed an “evolving threat.”
The body-cam footage clearly showed that is not what occurred however and Sheriff Wehrly has now launched an internal investigation to review Tolle’s actions.
“That was completely unjustified! He’s running up to see what’s going on. It’s his property. That’s his property! said Gina Greisen with Nevada Voters for Animals. “But he’s not even doing it in an aggressive running manner. He’s jogging up to the front. I’m horrified by this video!”
The group is calling for immediate action in support of Blu and has set up a Facebook page in his honor. They say Tolle did not follow required canine encounter training passed by the Nevada legislature in 2015.
“Blame the victim!” Greisen added. “We’re sick and tired of it! The public is tired of it! Whether it’s a person or an animal, stop blaming the victim and stop circling the wagons! The public wants the truth!”
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