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Off Duty Cop Charged in Killing Husky at Dog Park

Atlanta 8/26/2010 8:59:17 PM

Residents of a neighborhood in Severn, Maryland are happy that an off-duty federal cop has been charged with shooting and killing a Siberian husky at a community dog park. The incident happened August 2 at the Quail Run dog park.

Bear-Bear, a 3-year-old rescue husky, was playing off leash with his owner’s brother inside the park when Keith Elgin Shepherd and his wife came in with their leashed German shepherd. Bear-Bear and the German shepherd began to play roughly. Shepherd  asked Bear-Bear’s guardian to call him off, but before the man could react, Shepherd pulled out and gun and shot Bear-Bear.

Bear-Bear’s owner, Rachel Rettaliata, said after he was shot he “just went and laid down.” He died of his injuries a few hours later.

“We're so angry this guy was able to take our animal for what we feel was no reason at all,” Rettaliata said.

Neighbors support Rettaliata. Tarnna Hernandez lives nearby and said Bear-Bear often played with her children and their Dalmatian/ Australian mix, Marshmallow.

"I've never personally seen him be aggressive toward any dog or human or anything, for that matter. My two very young children love Bear-Bear and would attack him every time they saw him with hugs and love,” said Hernandez. “I have not seen that dog hurt anyone. Or snarl. He's never even barked. His only way was to get out a gun out and shoot him? Uh-uh. It's completely unbelievable."

Dorothy Pearce, the manager of the homeowner’s association, said the community “should not have gun-crazy, off-duty policemen shooting in their area, especially a dog in a controllable situation.”

The Anna Arundel County Police Department has charged Shepherd with two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within 100 yards of an occupied home. If convicted, Shepherd faces up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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