Arkansas Department Fires Sheriff’s Deputy After Chihuahua Shooting

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 7, 2019USshare
Arkansas Department Fires Sheriff’s Deputy After Chihuahua Shooting
Faulkner County Sheriff's Office Deputy Keenan Wallace, seen in a file photo, was fired after shooting a Chihuahua. (Faulkner County Sheriff's Office)

A sheriff’s deputy in Arkansas was fired after video footage showing him shooting a Chihuahua circulated widely over the weekend.

Faulkner County Sheriff Tim Ryals said that Deputy Keenan Wallace was fired a day after the shooting incident on Friday, Jan. 4.

“I believe there were numerous opportunities to de-escalate the incident. … While it appears no policies or laws were violated, I hold every employee within our agency to the highest of standards and will be forwarding the investigation to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further review,” Ryals said in the Jan. 5 statement.

Wallace was fired, Ryals added.

“We in Law Enforcement answer calls every day that require split-second life and death decisions. We strive to be right 100 percent of the time. Our Department is sadden [sic] 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,” he said.

The video footage showed the Chihuahua barking and running around and Wallace talking to the dog’s owner. Wallace is seen firing his gun and hitting the dog, that lets out a yelp. The shooting prompts the dog’s owner to explode, yelling: “Are you [expletive] me?!”

The owner backs up trying to get to his house as Wallace quickly approaches him and says repeatedly, “Stay right here.” Wallace does not explain why he shot the dog.

“I’m scared at this point. I want to go in my house. You just fired a weapon in my direction and poor defenseless dog. What’s wrong with you,” Doug Canady, the dog’s owner, told Fox 16.

He said Reese’s, the dog, wouldn’t have hurt anybody.

“My heart broke when he shot her. What did that poor dog do?” he added. The deputy responded to the house after a woman pointed a gun at the Chihuahua, claiming the dog tried to attack her, which Canady denied.

Canady said that deputies prevented him from saving his dog and that a neighbor rescued her. He said she’s recovering.

Warning: Video and post contain graphic content.

Conway Animal Welfare unit employee Brittney Wright told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that she was appalled by the shooting, saying, “I don’t see how it could ever be proved as a justifiable response.”

Because the area where the shooting occurred is outside the city limits, calls regarding animals are handled by the sheriff’s office and not her unit, according to Wright.

Wright said animal control officers aren’t armed with guns but with batons and pepper spray. If animals can’t be captured then officers use traps.

“Any animal situation can be handled without lethal force, and that [dog] posed absolutely zero threat,” she said.

In a previous statement, the sheriff’s office claimed the Chihuahua was “an aggressive dog.” Wright, citing her certification in canine behavior analysis, said that the dog showed little sign of aggression.

According to a GoFundMe started for the dog, Reese’s was being prepared for jaw surgery scheduled for Jan. 7.

“Reeses is in bad shape,” wrote Meagan Harris, who started the fundraiser. The surgery was going to cost between $8,000 and $10,000, she added.

The rest of the $14,000 that Harris aims to raise would go toward future vet bills and food, comfortable bedding, and other costs. The fundraiser has raised $13,850 as of Monday morning.

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