District Attorney Craig Ladd said Sgt. Brice Woolly’s action March 19 when he euthanized a dog in a northwest side neighborhood was “not criminal in my opinion,” but the dog’s owner says she will continue to seek a “positive change” when it comes to dogs roaming at large on city streets.
Ladd issued the following press release late Wednesday concerning the incident:
“Last Friday afternoon I received an investigative report pertaining to the killing of a pit bull dog running at large in the 400 block of 15th Avenue NW, which is in close proximity to Broadlawn Park, by the Ardmore Police Department during the week of spring break on March 19, 2014. The report revealed that Ardmore Police Sgt. Brice Woolly responded to the area at 9:31 a.m. that morning.
“Upon arrival, Sgt. Woolly was briefed by two animal control officers and a mailman. Sgt. Woolly was informed that animal control had received several calls about the dog being aggressive towards area residents during the past few weeks. In fact, a call from a female had been received earlier that morning about an aggressive dog in the area matching the description of the dog in question. The mailman, who was present, confirmed that the dog had been aggressive with him earlier that morning as well as on a prior occasion.
“The dog had a collar, but no tags. The animal control officers maintained they had asked several people in the neighborhood to whom the dog belonged, but were unable to learn who owned the animal. The animal control officers attempted unsuccessfully to capture the dog with a catch pole several times that morning, and during these attempts, the dog was aggressive with the officers.
“Due to the number of calls on this particular dog, large dog traps had actually been set up in Broadlawn Park previously by animal control. After Sgt. Woolly was briefed on the situation, he received approval from his superiors to ‘euthanize’ the dog, and Sgt. Woolly used a shotgun to kill the dog.
“The Ardmore Police Department policy pertaining to the use of force against an animal permits the discharge of a weapon ‘to euthanize an animal that represents a threat to public safety’ and requires that officers ‘must receive permission from a supervisor when practical.’
“Based upon the information provided to Sgt. Woolly on the morning in question, there appears to have been sufficient reason to believe that the dog represented a threat to public safety. Furthermore, Sgt. Woolly received permission from a supervisor to proceed with the ‘euthanasia.’ Under these circumstances, Sgt. Woolly’s action of shooting the dog was not criminal in my opinion.”
Sarah Brown maintains her dog was misunderstood and the dog was exhibiting fear rather than aggression. And, while she admits the dog frequently was at large, she said, “She (dog) was a jumper. Our family was never told, except by friendly neighbors, that she was out. We never got a citation or a letter (from the city).”
Brown described her feelings Wednesday as “totally great,” adding she was in contact with the national Humane Society as well as “...in touch with the Oklahoma Alliance For Animals and seeking an attorney.” She said she was not sure what direction an attorney would take if one agreed to represent her.
“We’re seeking positive change. We feel officers need more training then just CLEET,” she said.