A Faulkner County sheriff's deputy who was videotaped shooting and wounding a dog while on duty has been fired.
Sheriff Tim Ryals said in a statement that Deputy Keenan Wallace was "relieved of his duties" for actions that "fell short" of the standards of the office.
The video, which showed Wallace shooting a dog named Reese's during an evening service call in Shiloh Estates, has been viewed thousands of times online. Hundreds of comments, many of them critical, were posted to the sheriff's office Facebook page.
"Deputy Wallace fired his service weapon that injured an animal while in close proximity to a citizen," Ryals wrote. "I believe there were numerous opportunities to de-escalate the incident."
Ryals said while it appears no laws were violated, the case will still be forwarded to the prosecutor for review.
"We in Law Enforcement answer calls every day that require split second life and death decisions," Ryals wrote. "We strive to be right 100 percent of the time. Our Department is [saddened] about this incident and apologize for any distress and disappointment this incident has caused anyone who was affected by this disheartening event. We will keep Reeses in our thoughts through the recovery process."
Officer in Conway AR shot a innocent dog on private property without a warrant! just a stray dog wanting attention and barking like any other didn’t even kill the dog just left it to suffer. Total bullshit. Prayers to the owner who just lost their dog:( pic.twitter.com/lXYKk06ehG— Catie (@catiejwoodson) January 5, 2019
A Faulkner County sheriff’s deputy has been placed on paid leave after he shot a small dog Friday evening in a resident’s yard, a sheriff’s office spokesman said Saturday.
Video of the encounter, posted on the resident’s Facebook page, had been reposted about 2,600 times as of 5 p.m. Saturday. A statement about the shooting on the Faulkner County sheriff’s office social media site had received roughly 2,300 comments by late Saturday afternoon.
The shooting occurred while Deputy Keenan Wallace was answering a service call Friday evening in Shiloh Estates near Conway, sheriff’s office spokesman Deputy Erinn Stone said.
The sheriff’s office provided few details and would not disclose the reason why a deputy was called to the property. It did say in a statement that the dog was aggressive.
At one point, the Facebook page for the sheriff’s office went down. The office indicated that it was because of technical difficulties.
Doug Canady said he’d known Reese’s since he moved into Shiloh Estates three years ago and rescued the “skinny little malnutritioned dog” nearby.
The dispute began around 4:30 p.m. Friday when a woman standing in the road in front of his home in the 3400 block of Antietam Drive pointed a gun at the dog and in the direction of his home, Canady said. He told the woman to put the gun away and said that, when she did so, she replied that she was going to call authorities.
Canady said he went to a gas station and, when he returned, a deputy’s vehicle was in the street near his home. Soon after getting out of his vehicle, the deputy approached the home and Canady began filming the interaction.
In the video, which Canady verified for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, two small dogs run around near the deputy’s feet, barking and wagging their tails.
The deputy asks Canady to come to the road to speak with him and, when Canady refuses, the deputy begins walking toward him. As he approaches, the camera tilts toward the ground and a shot rings out. When the camera focuses on the deputy again, the small dog is writhing on the ground and crying loudly.
“Are you f-----g kidding me?” Canady shouts. “You’re f-----g kidding me.”
“I told you,” the deputy responds.
Later, Canady said he did not know how to react or understand why the deputy had fired his weapon in a residential area.
“Once he fired that weapon, I lost all mental faculties,” he said. “My heart broke. I thought he just killed this dog.”
Video that Canady recorded of the encounter shows a deputy holding something in his hand as he walks toward Canady.
“He scared me,” Canady said. “He freaked me out. I’m thinking I’m about to go to the hospital. He just shot a little bitty dog. What is he going to do to me?”
A Facebook post by the sheriff’s office said the dog was aggressive, but Stone would not comment on its behavior, citing an internal investigation. Stone also said she did not know the sheriff’s office protocols regarding animals that are considered aggressive.
Conway Animal Welfare unit employee Brittney Wright said she was appalled by news of the shooting.
“I don’t see how it could ever be proved as a justifiable response,” she said.
As Shiloh Estates is outside Conway city limits, calls regarding animals are handled by the sheriff’s office and not the city, Wright said.
According to Wright, who said she has spent six years with Conway’s animal welfare agency, its officers are not armed with guns, she said. Instead, Wright said the officers carry batons and pepper spray.
According to Wright, Conway’s protocol is to attempt to capture animals and, if that cannot be done safely, use traps.
“Any animal situation can be handled without lethal force, and that [dog] posed absolutely zero threat” she said.
Wright, who said she is certified in canine behavior analysis, said the dog in the video showed little sign of aggression. She said the dog, even after it had been shot, came up to people still looking for attention.
Canady said he took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment and it is in stable condition. The animal cannot eat because its jaw is broken, the homeowner said.
“It’s never going to go back to normal, but I want it to be rectified,” he said. “This man’s actions should not go unpunished.”
Stone said Wallace, who also had a K-9, was placed on paid leave while authorities determine whether any local, state or federal laws, as well as any sheriff’s office policies, were violated.
Canady said that after the shooting, he noticed that the officer, or a second deputy who arrived later, had left a citation for an animal ordinance violation on his porch chair.