On August 9, 2016, Tiffany Matteson was at her neighbor’s house when she heard a commotion at her place and several shots. She rushed back to her home just in time to see her dog trying to crawl to safety after having been shot by a cop. Police Officer Ronald Hall, who also doubled as a Code Enforcement Officer in the small town of Macedon, New York, had shot Sniper, her nine year old dog.
Sniper was a pit/lab mix who had never shown aggression to anyone, much less bitten anyone. Ronald Hall was trespassing on Matteson’s property without a warrant and without permission. His purpose was to conduct a code enforcement inspection of the trailer she was remodeling. Code enforcement officers must get permission before entering property according to New York lawyer Matt Albert.
Matteson asked Hall “What happened? What’s going on? Why did you just shoot my dog?”
Hall couldn’t give her a legal reason he was on her property. Hall has a checkered past as a police officer. In 2005, according to the Daily Messenger [link here] he was acquitted of rape charge he incurred in 2002 and re-hired. He was accused of having sex with an 18 year old girl who was too drunk to give consent. Hall also serves as the firearms training enforcer for his department.
The Daily Messenger also reported that this department has history of re-hiring cops who have engaged in less than desirable behavior. “The chief has something of a reputation for giving beleaguered cops a second chance in his department. In 2002, for instance, the Village Board hired Brian Sexstone, who made headlines on the Rochester force for his role in penning the so-called “ghetto lingo” memo that listed dozens of street slang terms. Sexstone left Palmyra after a few years and returned to Rochester, where late last year he was accused by a woman he arrested of making racial remarks. No formal charges have been filed in that case against him.”
According to Matteson, Hall had fired the killing shot in full view of a 15 year old child who was going to take care of Sniper, who was simply standing in a doorway. Apparently his fear of a geriatric dog outweighed the chances of a child getting hurt by a ricochet or wayward shot. When Matteson told him the dog was dying he responded, “Yeah. Good.”
Matteson took her story to the media and opened a Facebook page, Justice for Sniper [link here] in an attempt to hold Hall accountable for his crimes. She has also enlisted the services of Matt Albert, a New York lawyer known for his courage in going up against corrupt good ol’ boy police departments when they kill dogs. Since then the upstanding law enforcement department of that town has persecuted her; they have given several tickets citing her for “harboring” an unlicensed dog. In an interview with a Bloodhound News reporter, Matteson said “Yesterday evening, I had to sign my trailer back over to the park because the park is getting fined for us living in the camper and working on the trailer. The lot rent and security deposit of $880 is not being returned due to the fines the park is receiving. Not to mention the money I’ve put into the trailer already. The dog warden came yesterday and issued 3 tickets. Two for Sniper and one for my other dog. And code enforcement will be coming by sometime next week to see what violations there are that he can issue tickets for.”
Rather than apologizing and holding Hall accountable for breaking his oath and trampling upon the Fourth Amendment, this fine upstanding department has decided to get vindictive and petty and add insult to injury by even going after the trailer park owner.
The killing of family pets has become more than an epidemic, it is far worse than that. The Department of Justice estimates that cops kill 20 to 24 dogs a day. Other researchers such as the Puppycide Database [link here] estimate that the number is closer to 100 dogs a day nationwide, perhaps even higher. Many killings go unreported for various reasons. According to The Free Thought Project, a police accountability group: [link here]
“In 2014, the Free Thought Project reported on a Freedom of Information Act request for use of force incidents within the Buffalo police department. The information was shocking. According to use of force reports, Buffalo Police shot 92 dogs from Jan. 1, 2011 through Sept. 2014. Seventy-three of those dogs died. Nineteen survived. To provide a comparison, Buffalo’s numbers more than triple the amount of dog shooting incidents involving police in Cincinnati, a municipality of similar size. “The numbers are what the numbers are,” Buffalo Police Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards said in an interview with WGRZ in 2014. “Certainly, no officer takes any satisfaction in having to dispatch a dog.” Apparently, however, they do. It is not like Buffalo residents have more dogs than other parts of the country. This department seemingly takes satisfaction in killing people’s dogs.”
Run a Google or Facebook search and literally hundreds of stories and justice pages pop up. Hundreds of families have had their lives shattered. Hundreds of families have experienced the utter horror of having to watch and listen while their dogs die screaming in agony and writing in a pool of blood while they are sometimes handcuffed and beaten for protesting. Those who are supposed to “serve and protect” have become a dog owner’s worst nightmare. Dogs have been shot and killed while restrained in numerous ways, on leashes, behind closed doors and in crates. Multiple dogs have been killed when their owners acted as good samaritans and called cops to help others. It is almost impossible to protect our dogs when cops hunt them down and kill them no matter how wrong, how immoral and how unconstitutional it is.