A Teton County, Idaho family is outraged after they say a sheriff's deputy tried to murder their dog in their own front yard. The Barboza family has owned their dog Bobby for five years. A few days ago they say a Teton County Idaho Sheriff's Deputy knocked on their door demanding to see the dog. Leonel Barboza, Dog Owner: "He says, 'I'm here to put him down. I'm here to kill him.'" The officer told Leo Barboza there had been a complaint Bobby had bitten someone.
Barboza: "I said, 'Do you have any proof or anything?' He says, 'I don't need any proof.'" So Leo got the dog while the deputy pulled out a rifle from his car. They walked a few feet from the Barboza's home where Leo's wife and his three year old son were inside. Leo and the officer tied the dog to a pole when the deputy fired three shots. The dog then collapsed. Leo's son heard the gunshots and opened the front door. Meanwhile...
Barboza: "A bunch of kids just got off the bus and they were all on the street. All the kids were watching the officer shooting the dog. My heart was broken seeing an officer killing my dog." The deputy then got in his vehicle and drove away leaving the dog bleeding profusely from his head almost dead.
Barboza: "I came back inside with my wife and hid. We were hugging each other crying about our dog because we were gonna miss him. He's been with us for five years." That night Leo's father-in-law, who witnessed the whole thing, had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized. When the family returned home from the hospital a few days later, they were shocked to see their dog alive.
Barboza: "My wife called me up and she's like, 'Hey, the dog's alive!' I was like, 'What are you serious?' I was happy my dog was alive." The Teton County Idaho Sheriff wouldn't say much about this case except that it's still under investigation. He also said there's been numerous complaints about the Barboza's dog. But when I checked court records, I could only find one complaint filed last year and that was dismissed.
Nate Eaton, Channel 3 Eyewitness News: "Did your dog ever bite anybody?"
Barboza: "Not to my knowledge. No."
Eaton: "And this was the first time you'd ever heard of any complaint?"
Barboza: "Yes, this is the first time. I still think about it. You know my kid thinks all the cops are bad because an officer came and shot his dog. Honestly when I think about it I get mad too and I don't trust that officer any more."
The Barboza's took Bobby to the vet. He's now on medication to get the wounds taken care of. The holes in his head will be sewn up after Thanksgiving. The family has hired attorney Josh Garner. I spoke with him this evening and he says, "If the facts are as they appear, the deputies behavior is disgusting, troublesome, and appalling. The officer needs to be held responsible." Several sources say the officer is still on duty and still working in the county.
To support the Barboza family legally or financially, email their attorney Josh Garner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Nate Eaton, Kidk.com
But wait, it gets worse.........
Local residents are also talking about the story. Justin Frandsen says he was in the sheriff's office the night before the dog was shot and he heard deputies talking about the animal."This is unacceptable to treat an animal in this way, regardless of what the animal has done." Dr. Joseph Rosenthal, Idaho Humane Society stated. "This is an act of cruelty and to find out that later the dog was discovered to still be alive and suffering it’s just an example."
Justin Frandsen: "They were joking and laughing about what weapons they wanted to shoot him with and how they were gonna shoot him. At the end of the conversation, they were almost feuding over who got to shoot the dog." Shocked by what he heard, Frandsen says he spoke up to the deputies.
Frandsen: "You guys must feel like you're real big cops, real tough guys, to have to go out and basically assassinate somebody's house pet."
excerpt: By Channel 3 Eyewitness News Team
Not only is that an unacceptable way to treat an animal, it's a abhorrent way to treat a citizen. Deputy Joseph Guitierez compelled Leonel Barboza to take part in and witness the staking out and attempted execution of his dog. There was no reason for that. Even if the dog were dangerous, even if it had a documented history of biting people, the proper way to handle the situation would have been to capture the animal, then contain and quarantine the animal until rabies observation could be completed. Shooting a staked out animal is nothing short of cowardice. Shooting a staked out animal suspected of biting a human is nothing short of ignorant.
Further, on watching the videotape of the Kidk.com story, it is apalling to consider that an officer of the law, who was unable to effectively hit a target 15 feet away, was shooting a damned rifle in mobile home park. I have no idea what caliber of rifle was used, but a .22LR bullet will rip through both sides of most mobile homes unless it strikes something in between. Something like a person's head. To think this
Deputy Joseph Guitierez has been suspended. The Tri-County Sheriff's Organization is now investigating the shooting. That is not enough. This entire sheriff's office needs to be scrutinized for their policies not only of animal control, but of protecting the public through more intelligent and informed leadership and instruction of their deputies.
Irene Brown, the Animal Services Manager for the Idaho Falls Police Department states, "We would only use a weapon against a dog if the dog came at us viciously." She goes on to speak about the need to quarantine an animal that has bitten a person for rabies observation. Sound familiar? Of course, Leonel Barboza may not live in Idaho falls, and as a result this case may not fall under their jurisdiction, but it certainly appears the resources are available close by for Teton County Sheriff Kim Cooke to take a look at.
Let Sheriff Kim Cooke know what you think.
Sheriff Kim Cooke
89 N Main St
Driggs, Idaho 83422