State Police Probe Sought In Shooting Death Of Dog

Published 2:55 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2014

PRINCE EDWARD — Prince Edward County Sheriff Wesley Reed and Commonwealth’s Attorney James R. Ennis have contacted the Virginia State Police to see if they will investigate the circumstances surrounding a county deputy’s shooting a dog at a residence.

Ennis reported Tuesday morning that a State Police investigation had been requested by him for him and on behalf of the sheriff.

“…I began last Wednesday, but the captain that I needed to make the request to was out of the office. I called again Friday, he was out. I called yesterday and spoke to him and that’s when I found out he had not been there Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of last week and discussed it with him and he’s supposed to call me sometime today with a decision on whether or not State Police will do the investigation,” Ennis said.

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Even though there’s a request, it’s still up to the State Police whether one will be conducted.

“…State Police is like every other state agency. They have a budget, they have to allocate their resources and they cannot be compelled to comply. This is a request and they determine where they send their resources and where they send their investigators,” Ennis said.

According to a previous press release from County Sheriff Wesley Reed, on June 27 a deputy “was charged by a vicious dog at a residence while he was attempting civil paper service. The deputy tried to get away from the dog but the animal lunged at him so he fired his weapon as required by his training. Animal Control was notified seeking medical assistance for the dog, but the animal later died.”

The incident, the release stated, “was investigated by the Virginia State Police.”

Reed clarified to The Herald this week, saying that the family had contacted the State Police and made the initial call. That is why, the sheriff explained, he made the statement in the press release that the State Police had investigated. He said he had no reason to make another call after that initial call.

Reed, meanwhile, said he believes his officer acted correctly.

“There was a threat to the officer,” Reed told The Herald, “and the officer neutralized the threat.”

In a July 18 email to The Herald, State Police Public Relations Director Corinne N. Geller wrote: “State law mandates that the Virginia State Police cannot investigate an incident involving another law enforcement agency unless requested by the sheriff/chief, commonwealth’s attorney, Attorney General, or grand jury. At this time the Virginia State Police has not initiated an investigation into this incident.”

The State Police have now been officially asked to do so.