MARC CHASE: Final police report should end husky-gate

2013-08-27T00:00:00Z MARC CHASE: Final police report should end husky-gateMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
August 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It turns out Crown Point police might not be the animal-hating blood mongers some folks would have us believe. Police didn't arbitrarily decide to use two Siberian huskies for target practice last month after all.

I also have it on good authority the city cops don't revel in tearing the wings from butterflies or yanking the legs off grasshoppers.

I already drew this conclusion in a previous column. But the release last week of a 31-page final police report on the "husky-gate" matter -- my words, not theirs -- by Crown Point Chief Pete Land makes it plain as day.

It's not just the cops telling us they shot the collarless, unleashed dogs because the animals were encircling human beings in an aggressive posture after splaying open a cat the canines dragged from the feline's property.

No, the police department's final report also includes statements from three witnesses -- folks who tried to help. They all saw firsthand what occurred.

Those three witnesses didn't want to be named in the police reports. A number of irrational folks in town rallied in a candlelight vigil for the dogs and automatically assumed the police had committed a cruel act by shooting the dogs. The witnesses fear -- probably with good reason -- some equally irrational folks might shun or seek retribution against them for stepping forward and doing the right thing.

Five police officers, the three witnesses and the couple who own the cat collectively support the same basic account: The huskies already had attacked and dragged a cat off its property and down to a creek bank. The cat owner intervened, trying to save the cat, and was encircled by the huskies. Officers arrived, thought the mud-laden dogs looked like coyotes and used pepper spray to disperse the dogs. But the canines persisted in circling the cat, cat owner and officers in an aggressive manner. Police took careful aim and dispatched the danger -- which is their job when last I checked.

The chief's final report reveals the husky owners had previous issues with the city -- involving these very dogs. Police said they had previously responded to seven noise complaints regarding the animals, and a $239 citation was issued to the dogs' owners in June -- well before the July 17 attack by the canines that led to the dogs' shooting deaths.

Also in the report is the detailed fallout on the cat -- no doubt beloved by its owners, who have spent more than $3,200 in veterinary bills to fix the damage done by the dogs. A photo shows a long stretch of stitches that zig-zag the cat's back and a surgical drain in the wound.

This report should serve as a strong edict to all pet owners to keep animals collared, tagged, leashed or within enclosures. It's time for the truly responsible parties to assume -- well -- responsibility.

Investigative Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 662-5330 or marc.chase@nwi.com. The opinions are the writer's.

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