On Sunday, August 9th, Sidara D. Son watched in horror as Sgt. Chad Culbreath, 35th Precinct, Badge #3207 of the Philadelphia Police Department ran down and killed her dog Phoebe.
Culbreath was on a routine patrol through the area. Son and her friends were socializing outside her home. One of her friends was holding Phoebe by the collar. Sensing danger, Son and her friends tried to flag down the police car and asked him to slow down. At that moment Phoebe escaped from the person holding her and tried to run to her owner. According to witnesses, Sgt. Culbreath sped up his car and deliberately ran Phoebe down and almost hit the person who was trying to recapture her.
Son ran to her dog and gathered her broken, bleeding body into her arms. Culbreath stopped his cruiser and got out. “It’s just a dog!” he said scornfully, as Son screamed at him, wanting to know why he did that. He threatened to arrest her for touching her dog! He refused to let her leave to get Phoebe to the veterinarian and called for backup. Five more cars arrived and blocked off the street so nobody could get in or out. Culbreath’s supervisor, Sgt. Morrow, was one of the back up units. He also stood by and refused to let Son take her dog to the veterinarian. Sgt. Butler of animal control was on the scene too, and she informed Son that she would take the dog to Animal Control and euthanize it. Son kept trying to make them let her take her dog to an emergency animal clinic. Eventually they let her go, but it was too late, Phoebe died in her arms on the way.
Neither Culbreath’s supervisor Morrow, nor their superior, Derek Woods, have been able to be reached for comment. Son has demanded an investigation and has been assured that one will be carried out. Unfortunately those of us who follow these events know all too well what outcome that will have.
We spoke with Sidara D. Son in an exclusive interview. She struggled for composure as she described the horrific scene. “I have videos of the incident and I would like it to go viral,” she said. ” I want the truth to be seen by the world of how cruel and heartless Officer Culbreath was and how the Philadelphia police handled the situation. Phoebe was not ‘just a dog’! She was my child, my precious angel, she brought so much joy to my life. I miss her so badly.”
Phoebe has a Facebook page here . There is also a petition on the page asking for Culbreath to be terminated. Son has handled this incredibly difficult situation very well and is determined to make positive things happen from this. She has donated dozens of stuffed toys to her local animal charity in Phoebe’s memory and would like to see a law made that would hold cops accountable for killing dogs. Ms. Son has embodied grace and dignity, in direct contrast to the callous way Sgt. Culbreath and his department handled the situation.
The animal advocacy group Freeze Don’t Shoot has determined that a family dog is killed by police every 56 to 98 minutes. That does not account for the many that go unreported and unrecognized. It is a horrific epidemic filled with brutality, cruelty, cowardice and hysteria. It is unacceptable behavior from those who are supposed to be protecting us.