Arkansas Deputy Fired After Shooting Chihuahua as Owner Watched

When a woman called the Faulkner County sheriff’s office in Arkansas the evening of Jan. 4 to complain about aggressive dogs, Deputy Keenan Wallace—a police dog handler who you’d think would be experienced at dealing with animals—was dispatched to the Shiloh Estates home of the dogs’ owner, Doug Canady.

Canady’s dogs—Oreo and a chihuahua named Reese’s—ran around their front yard. Reese’s began barking at Wallace. As Canady recorded a video, Wallace asked him to “step to the road.”

Canady refused, then watched in horror as Wallace pulled out a gun and shot the tiny Chihuahua in the face. Wallace later said that Reese’s was “growling and barking aggressively” and “lunged toward me in an attempt to bite me on my leg.”

The video Canady posted on Facebook has been viewed more than 1.7 million times, outraging people around the world. (Here’s a link, but be warned that it’s graphic and very difficult to watch.)

Wallace was initially put on paid administrative leave, but then Sheriff Tim Ryals with Faulkner County sheriff’s office released a statement Jan. 5 announcing Wallace had been fired. “I believe there were numerous opportunities to de-escalate the incident,” Ryals said.

Reese’s miraculously survived the shooting, but her jaw was shattered and she will need surgery to repair it. People have donated more than $21,000 as of Jan. 10 to a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of her medical care.

“She’s doing well, considering all things!!” Canady wrote the day after the shooting on his Facebook page. “Has bone fragments in her stomach and doing surgery tomorrow on both her jaw and to remove the bones!”

Canady had recently been caring for Reese’s and Oreo after a neighbor who moved away abandoned the dogs. At the time, Reese’s was a “skinny little malnutritioned dog,” Canady told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

According to the sheriff’s office’s statement, “it appears no policies or laws were violated” in the shooting incident. However, according to Arkansas law, the crime of cruelty to animals includes killing or injuring an animal without legal privilege or the owner’s consent. It is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable with up to a year of jail time and/or a maximum $1,000 fine.

The Faulkner County prosecutor’s office is investigating the case. Unsurprisingly, it has been flooded with emails, phone calls and social media messages from people outraged by the shooting. “To be clear, as with any criminal referral, once we receive the case file from law enforcement, we will conduct a thorough review of the evidence and make the appropriate charging decision based on the evidence and law,” Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews said in a Jan. 8 statement.

Police officers shoot dogs much too frequently in the United States: every 98 minutes, according to the 2013 documentary, “Puppycide“. To help prevent these needless killings, the states of Colorado and Texas have enacted laws requiring all law enforcement officers to undergo training in how to humanely deal with aggressive dogs.

Arkansas doesn’t have a law like this, but hopefully this incident will inspire a “Reese’s Law.” You can get updates on the chihuahua’s progress on the Reeses Road to Recovery Facebook page.

Take Action

In addition to losing his job, Wallace should be charged with animal cruelty. Please sign and share this petition urging the Faulkner County Prosecutor’s Office to do so.

And if, like Austin Dean and Michael Eisele, you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

Photo credit: Reeses Road to Recovery/Facebook

97 comments

Jacqueline GLYDE
Jacqueline G22 hours ago

Bloody gun happy cops need to find a job that doesn't involve carrying firearms. I'd like to see the bastard homeless,begging for a meal.

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Shae Lee
Shae Lee3 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Emily J
Emily J4 days ago

The so called "dog handler" sounds like a nasty, cowardly little sadist. I don't believe for a minute he was afraid of the chihuahua, just another sicko hiding behind his position thought he could get away with killing and hurting little dogs. He should be locked up.

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H5 days ago

A dog handler who's afraid of a chihuahua bite? Now that would be embarrassing if it weren't so cruel. He definitely should not be a cop so I'm glad they took him off the streets. It's great that people are donating for medical costs, however, I think all expenses should be cover by the deputy and the county. No laws broken? Scary place to live.

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Suzanne L
Suzanne L5 days ago

Poor little dog. It's a miracle she wasn't killed. Honestly, a grown man afraid of a chihuahua? I'm glad so many people have chipped in for her medical expenses.

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Michael F
Michael F5 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Toni W
Toni W5 days ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W5 days ago

TYFS

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Ingrid A
Ingrid A6 days ago

Thank you

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