An Arkansas sheriff’s deputy was fired after shooting a barking chihuahua in the head Friday, an incident officials labeled “disheartening.”
Faulkner County Sheriff Tim Ryals said in a statement Saturday that deputy Keenan Wallace had been terminated after it was determined there were “numerous opportunities to de-escalate the incident.”
Cellphone video of the encounter shows Wallace opening fire on the dog — named Reese’s — within feet of its owner, Doug Canady. Police say the incident began following a call for service for an “aggressive” dog at Canady’s home.
Canady told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that police were called by a woman standing in the road in front of his home, who pointed a gun toward his property. When Canady told the woman to put the gun away, she complied but threatened to call authorities, he said.
He told the Democrat-Gazette that he began filming when Wallace arrived and began to approach his house.
The graphic video — which was posted to Canady’s Facebook page Friday and has been shared more than 40,000 times — shows two dogs barking and running near the deputy’s feet.
Wallace asks Canady to come to the road. He declines.
“Okay, I’m going to come to you,” Wallace tells Canady. “If the dog gets aggressive, I’m going to shoot.”
Reese’s can be seen walking toward Wallace while barking. Seconds later, the deputy pulls the trigger of his service weapon.
“Are you . . . kidding me?” Canady asks incredulously, using numerous expletives. He continues, “I just recorded you shooting that dog, in front of me, putting me in danger.”
“No, I didn’t,” Wallace replies. “The shot hit the dog, what I aimed at.”
Reese’s survived the shooting but required surgery for a shattered jaw and a feeding tube to eat. A Sunday update to the GoFundMe page for her medical expenses, however, said Reese’s was facing complications with the feeding tube and that the dog was “not out of danger yet.”
In an interview with Fox 16, Canady said the incident was “cruel.” He also alleged that Wallace pulled a stun gun on him after the incident.
“You just fired a weapon in my direction at a poor, defenseless little dog. What’s wrong with you?” an emotional Canady told Fox 16. “How unstable do you have to be to shoot a little dog?”
Ryals said in the statement that while Wallace had not violated any state laws or policies of the Faulkner Sheriff’s Office, the incident “fell short” of the department’s standards. He added that he will refer the investigation to the prosecuting attorney’s office for further review.
Fox 16 reports that Wallace also had a K-9 police dog assigned to him.
The department on Monday declined to comment further or confirm reports that Wallace is a K-9 handler, referring The Washington Post to its news release on the incident. Canady did not respond to a message requesting comment Monday morning.
“Our Department is [saddened] about this incident and apologize for any distress and disappointment this incident has caused anyone who was affected by this disheartening event,” the sheriff wrote. “We will keep Reese’s in our thoughts through the recovery process.”
On Saturday, Canady shot a video of himself with Reese’s at the hospital. The dog is seen with a cast around her neck and two of her legs.
The video was posted with the caption “Reese’s Road to Recovery.”