Officer shoots dog

June 22, 2009 at 8:54 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Officer shoots dog
A 78-year-old Luling woman said that she was forced into her home by a neighbor’s loose dog, which led to the 2-year-old pit-bull mixed breed getting shot in the face by a St. Charles Parish sheriff’s deputy.

Miraculously, the animal is expected to make a full recovery.

The incident began on June 10 when the woman, Helen Oncale, told police that the 38-pound dog, Toulouse, ran up her Wade Street driveway to her dog.

After smelling her dog, she said that Toulouse began growling in an “aggressive manner.” When Oncale attempted to pick up her dog, she said Toulouse turned on her.

After carrying her dog inside, Oncale called the Sheriff’s Office. When officer  Shannon Petty arrived, she told him she wished to press charges against the dog’s owner, Misty Mars.

According to Petty, when he went to Mars’ home to bring her a summons, Toulouse got out and attacked him.

“When the dog ran at the officer, it pinned him against the front porch,” Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes said. “When the dog began biting at his pants leg, the officer tried to get to his TASER, but couldn’t.

“Because he feared for his safety, he had to use his weapon.”

Mars said that the bullet went through the top of Toulouse’s nose and came out underneath her jaw. Though her line of site was blocked, she doesn’t believe Toulouse ever got close enough to the officer to bite his pants leg.

After the shooting, Mars picked Toulouse up and rushed her to her veterinarian, who was able to save the dog after a four-hour surgery.

“Toulouse is a very loving dog and she follows me everywhere,” Mars said. “We joke that her Indian name is ‘underfoot.’

“Sometimes, she does run out because we don’t have a fence here, and she does bark because she is very protective of me. However, she has never bitten anyone and doesn’t have an aggressive growl or anything.”

Mars said that Oncale not only calls the Sheriff’s Office every time Toulouse is loose, but has called to complain about other animal owners on Wade Street as well.

Nancy Schaefer, who lives two doors down from Mars, said that she and other residents on Wade Street have had the authorities called on their pets.

“I got a ticket once because my dog barked at a neighbor while wagging his tail,” she said. “The day it snowed, Misty’s dog and my dog were outside playing with my husband. The SPCA was called that day as well.”

Schaefer said that Toulouse is not aggressive at all and is a playmate of both her cat and dog.

“We have had no problems with Toulouse,” she said. “There are four boys under seven that live between me and Misty, and they are around the dog often.

“The family would not allow a vicious dog around those children.”

Mars, who moved back home to Luling because of her father’s heart attack last year, came across Toulouse while living in the Virgin Islands.

“She is a rescued dog, because when she was found, a group of boys were throwing her against a wall and beating her,” Mars said. “She has had a pretty rough life.”

Since Toulouse has been living in her Wade Street home, Mars said she has become a favorite of the many neighborhood kids that live nearby.

“The rest of our street knows Toulouse and loves her,” she said. “We have kids around all the time and they love her too.

“This dog sleeps with me and constantly has to be touching me at all times.”

Mars said she is not out to “get” the Sheriff’s Office over the shooting, but thinks the department should change their policy when it comes to dealing with animals.

“When I brought her to my vet in New Orleans, he said I should do whatever I could to get the Sheriff’s Office to change their policy,” Mars said. “He told me that the use of excessive force against animals is something he sees a lot of in Orleans Parish.”

But Yoes said that if Mars would have kept her dog detained, this incident would have never occurred.

“If the dog was detained then she wouldn’t have attacked the 78-year-old woman and she wouldn’t have attacked the officer,” Yoes said. “The dog was doing what dogs do, but it was the irresponsibility of the owner that caused the problem.”

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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