A Jacksonville, Florida woman is looking for answers after her neighbor, a Jacksonville police officer, shot and killed her dog. According to Chelsea Pavish her dog, a basset hound mix, was able to circumvent a barrier and get into the yard next door. Sgt. Bradley Shivers and his wife and two children, ages three and seven, were on their pool deck when Goose got into the yard.
According to the police report Goose acted aggressively and pursued Shivers around his yard as he tried to fend him off with a rake. He claims that in the past on several occasions he had been successful in defending himself against the dog with the rake. Shivers then slipped and fell. When he regained his feet he went into his house, got his duty weapon and shot Goose in the head. He claimed he was afraid for the safety of his wife and children.
Shivers was removing a tree from his yard and had taken down a section of the fence that divided the properties. Pavish reports that whenever they let Goose out they attempted to barricade the missing section. She disputes Shivers’s claim that the dog was aggressive. “Impossible,” she said. “He’s so lazy, very goofy. If he was afraid he would back away.” Lunging at someone would be out of character. Goose was a rescue dog and had been adopted by Pavish a few months earlier. He had never shown signs of aggression.
When Pavish heard the shot she ran outside and was able to get Goose and take him to a veterinarian where he had to be put down because his injuries were too severe. Pavish questions why Shivers did not simply notify her that Goose had escaped his yard. If the dog was so dangerous, why did he leave his wife and two children outside while he retrieved his service weapon? Was deadly force his only option? Why didn’t he just take his family inside and shut the door? She plans to file charges or a complaint against Shivers, but worries that it will be “swept under the rug.”
Shivers himself called the police after the incident. Pavish reports that they stood around talking about mutual acquaintances and laughing, and never came to speak with her or take her information. The Sheriff’s office closed the investigation with no charges against Shivers or Pavish. Shivers never spoke to her at all.
Because Florida laws allow firing a weapon within the city limits, Shivers will not be charged with that although since he did discharge his duty weapon the department will “investigate” it.
“(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) or subsection (3), any person who knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place or on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or whosoever knowingly discharges any firearm over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082
or s. 775.083
. This section does not apply to a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm or to a person discharging a firearm on public roads or properties expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Division of Forestry.
(2) Any occupant of any vehicle who knowingly and willfully discharges any firearm from the vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082
, s. 775.083
, or s. 775.084
(3) Any driver or owner of any vehicle, whether or not the owner of the vehicle is occupying the vehicle, who knowingly directs any other person to discharge any firearm from the vehicle commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082
, s. 775.083
, or s. 775.084
Jacksonville officers have a history of shooting dogs. In January a Northside woman reported that a SWAT team shot and killed her dog Axl during a standoff with occupants of the house. The dog was in her car, and the windows were down. She requested to get him or to have an officer get him multiple times, and was refused. There is no question that the cops knew the dog was present. After hours of sitting in the car unattended the dog finally jumped out and a member of the SWAT team shot him, claiming he was “acting aggressively”. In March of 2014 Officer Irving Diaz shot and wounded a stray dog after he followed it back to its home. Diaz was already infamous for allowing a female friend to drive his squad car. The dog survived but has the dog equivalent of PTSD.
As always, the excuse given by these shooters all over the country is that they felt threatened. None of them have been injured seriously and most of them have not been injured at all. In over fifty years, no officer has been killed by a dog. Estimates reveal that officers kill a dog or other family pet, including birds, horses and kittens, every 56 minutes. That is extremely troubling and highlights a disturbing quality of the men and women officers who do the killing, outright fear and cowardice and a propensity to use deadly force immediately, with little to no attempt to defuse the situtation. Multiple witness in multiple cases refute their claims that the dog was attacking. In dozens of cases necropsies show that the dogs were actually running away when they were shot. Dogs on leashes, in vehicles, behind closed doors, and in crates have been killed. They have been shot while the owner is actually holding them. These shooters have absolutely no regard for life. In Burlington, Iowa, a woman was killed when a terrified cop tried to shoot her dog. He was not charged and has returned to duty with no consequences.