Baltimore police officer Jeffrey Bolger faces felony animal cruelty, and other charges, after he was arrested for slitting a dogs throat that had escaped from home, officials announced Wednesday.
Police were responding to a call Saturday that a dog had bitten a woman. The dog, a 7-year-old Chinese shar-pei breed named Nala, had went missing from her home earlier that morning. Once on scene, officers restrained Nala using a customary long-pole noose around her neck, officials said.
Sandy Fleischer, the woman bitten by the dog had been attempting to retrieve the animal for its owner after seeing “missing” posts on a community facebook page.
“The dog was more scared of not knowing where it was and being thirsty and disoriented. The dog bit me out of fear because I tried to touch it, which was my fault,” Fleischer said. She sustained a small, inconsequential puncture wound to her hand, officials said.
Fleischer, who did not see the actual killing of the animal, did say that Nala was NOT being aggressive. “You could hear the dog screaming and crying in pain,” Fleischer said. “I did see one officer that had been extremely aggressive that did have his knee into her chest that was tightening the noose. It seemed (they were doing it) relentlessly and unnecessarily.”
Shortly afterward, Officer Jeffrey Bolger cut Nala’s throat with a knife, even though she was contained, according to police spokesman Eric Kowalczy.
“It was a complete violation of protocol,” Kowalczy said. “It’s not often police speak out against one of their own, but we are all truly appalled.”
Just before they got to the scene, Bolger was overheard saying, “I’m going to gut this f***ing thing,” according to charging documents.
Nala’s owner, Sarah Gossard, said police did not give her details on how Nala died until Wednesday. “She went missing Saturday and after looking for her all day, I found out through a neighbor that she was put down,” she said.
“Police never contacted me until today. Only after did I find out more details. I learned from the news that she was stabbed in the throat. I want justice.” Gossard said Nala was not a violent dog.
Bolger has been with the Baltimore Police Department since 1992. He was suspended without pay, arrested and charged, the Police Department said.
The animal died. The Baltimore Police Department referred Police State Daily to other statements upon our requests for comment.
Update: A second Baltimore officer has been suspended while the department investigates his role in the slitting of the dog’s throat.
Court documents say Officer Thomas Schmidt held the dog down while a fellow officer Jeffrey Bolger cut the animal’s throat.
Schmidt has been suspended with pay during the investigation, Baltimore Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said.
He has not been charged.