Officer Shoots Retired Police Dog Because Of Illness

KozarThe Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (in Florida) will be implementing a policy that requires deputies who adopt their retired dogs to have them euthanized by a drug injection.

This policy change came after the shooting of Kozar, a police dog who served on the force for about seven years. His owner, an officer on the force, shot and killed the 13-year-old dog because he was sick. Deputy Tom Willcox, who grew up on a farm, thought that shooting a sick dog was an acceptable way of putting Kozar down.

The shooting has caused a stir among other K-9 officers and animal advocates. They said shooting the dog was not justified and this showed that Willcox had bad judgment as a dog handler.

“I am absolutely just appalled by it. Whether somebody wants to say there is no criminal violation, it is ethically and morally wrong,” said Pepe Peruyero, owner of J&K Canine Academy. “This is a dog that dedicated seven years of its life to the community. It is incumbent on that deputy that when the time comes to euthanize that dog, to do it in a manner which is dignified. I’ve talked to K-9 handlers and trainers from coast to coast since this thing happened and not one can even fathom doing this.”

Sheriff Sadie Darnell said Willcox put padding on his arm that is used in police dog training “because he wanted Kozar’s last memory to be one of doing what he loved and thrived on.”

The policy of euthanizing dogs is in effect now, and numerous local veterinary clinics have agreed to euthanize retired police dogs for free.

Willcox will not be charged as it is acceptable to euthanize a dog by shooting it and that he did not intend to commit a crime. He has since returned to the force.

Joy Drawdy,an animal rights activist, said this case should have been investigated as an animal cruelty case.

Drawdy added, “Shooting a dog is not humane euthanasia. This guy didn’t know that? It’s an unnecessary risk. If you miss, it can be a very horrible, painful death. There is no reason to take that chance.”

Source: The Gainesville Sun

34 Responses to “Officer Shoots Retired Police Dog Because Of Illness”

  1. aApe says:

    What he did is illegal.

    it’s a first degree misdemeanor. checkout the law on online sunshine

    this matter needs to be addressed by the attorney general’s office.
    a simple letter demanding charges be brought will help.

    Office of the Attorney General
    State of Florida
    The Capitol PL-01
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

    here is the addy phone and fax for the alachua co. sheriff’s office.
    Alachua County Sheriff’s Office

    2621 S.E. Hawthorne Road Post Office Box 1210
    Gainesville, Florida 32602-1210
    Phone: (352)367-4000
    Fax: (352)374-1803

    also, a CC to the FDLE wouldn’t hurt.
    Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    Post Office Box 1489
    Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1489
    Phone: (850)410-7001
    Fax: (850)410-7022
    Contact: Gerald M. Bailey
    Title: Commissioner

    what that cop did is wrong, and he has to be held accountable.

  2. aApe says:

    also, if you talk to them, don’t let them quote 828.05 ( at you. the ‘officers’ referred to in its definitions section are not LEOs, they are animal control officers.

  3. Maria P says:

    Is he stupid or what? GEEZ! What an A$$!

    What was the nature of the dogs illness?

  4. Maria P says:

    Is he stupid or what? GEEZ! What an A$$!

  5. Jaime Smith says:

    What an idiot that guy is. Most K-9 units are filled with dog-lovers. What kind of supposed dog-lover is that guy anyway…?
    What was wrong with the dog exactly?

  6. Velvet's Dad says:

    I agree with Maria and Jaime. The dog was sick, but how? Why wasn’t the dog brought to a licensed vet for a determination? Makes no sense.

  7. Hazel Chambers says:

    I grew up on a farm too…and we never shot any dog…nor would we. this man is a moron and does not belong behind a badge and carrying a gun.

  8. Nora and Rufus says:

    Just another excuse for the man to use his gun. The poor dog. What a horrid and violent way to be taken out after serving faithfully.

  9. Judy says:

    That is just freaking bizzare, did the dog go to a vet? A cannine handler thought dog sick shoot it??

  10. petrescue in Florida says:

    This dog served as this cop’s protector and partner through out his K9 career and this is what he got for it ? If this K9 was truly ill then he deserved a more decent form of euthansia.. And let’s hear from the K9’s Vet on the topic of his illness..

    I find it hard to believe that this cop was sworn to protect..

    RE: aApe:: “And as to contacting the State Atty. General of Florida don’t waste your time all he does is send back an autoreply with name’s and phone number’s that are no longer in working order”..

    Public outcry to the FDLE might help and new’s coverage definately will…

  11. Jack says:

    Kudos to the officer.

    Animal right terrorists are by definition out to end all meat, work, and companion animals. If we lost all animal rightists, good riddance to bad rubbish. No one would miss them, and I’d shed no tear at their demise. Animal Rightists want animals poisoned with (definition of euthanasia) with the poison carcasses sent to rendering plants where the fatl drugs do not degrade but are made into canabilistic dog food. AR’s are folk who are dangerous, disease promoting, wing nuts.

    The person who can’t shoot his own dog or horse when needed and appropriate isn’t one worth knowing or worth having any animals love. When we come right down to the nitty gritty AR’s hate not love animals or they would not want rid of all animals except wild ones.

  12. toonces25 says:

    Jack - please keep ranting. You make AL/AR activists LOL.

    You’re sharp as a pistol, there buddy.

    The definition of euthanasia is ‘good death’, not ‘poisoned’.

  13. aApe says:

    @petrescue - i do agree that the AG’s office itself isn’t going to do anything, but since the new guy came in, and Crist moved up, things have been a little better.

    example - at the circus, these FHP goons made up a bunch of laws and told us the civic center was private property, etc (long story - too long for a blog comment), but I wrote requesting and investigation into violations of our 1st amendment rights.

    no investigation was launched - BUT I was interviewed and statements taken from me by the HSMV IGs office, and they were investigating the troopers. Now, they won’t go to court b/c of it, but having the IG crawl up your butt is never fun.

    Also, we got a signed letter from the director of the civic center, telling us basically we can do, say, be anywhere on the property so long as we don’t block the doors. Now, the next time the popo pull that nonsense, we’ve got docs to put them in their place.

    So it _can_ help, it just doesn’t always help enough (or, I’ll grant you, at all in some cases)

  14. Don Earl says:

    I’m curious.

    How many of those who approve of lethal injection for their pets, believe it’s cruel and unusual when used on a human criminal?

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

  15. aApe says:

    hey don.

    i can only speak for myself here.
    first off, i think your question is, i don’t know the actual rhetoric/debate class term, setting up a false association.

    the correlation for me is not companion animals::people convicted of capital crimes, but companion animals::other loved family members in pain.

    on that topic, i support ET for both my four legged family members, and my two legged human family members.

    my dear grandmother died of lung cancer, and had hospice care during her death. she was the toughest person i’ve ever known, even tougher than my father, who i swear could chew ten penny nails covered in glass if that was what he had to, to provide for his family.

    my grandmother was in agony as she died, despite the morphine. if i could have given her a load of pentobarbital to end her suffering, i would have. it would have been an act of love.

    when my dog curly got hit by a coal truck, and was dying, i’m glad i was able to deliver that drug to her. she stopped hurting, she left us, there was no more pain for her, and her continued suffering would have served no purpose. for curly, ET was a blessing. for grandmother, it would have been.

    i hope when the time comes for me, my wife, or my father to leave this rock, that meager kindness now granted only to our four legged brothers will be available to the two legged ones.

  16. Cate says:

    Don the euthanasia protocol used when executing a criminal IS cruel and unusual and NOT the same protocol as what is used by veterinarirans when euthanizing a cat or dog.

    aApe - Oregon allows for euthanasia in the “Death for Dignity Act” - I plan to move to Oregon for the end of my life if possible. I saw my father die from stomach cancer and it was anything but dignified and he was in horrific pain. In my opinion it should be available for all terminally ill people.

  17. Denise says:

    Barbaric and unnecessary. I have heard of farm people doing this and they save a few bucks not going to the vet. No excuse for this.

  18. Don Earl says:

    RE: “Don the euthanasia protocol used when executing a criminal IS cruel and unusual and NOT the same protocol as what is used by veterinarirans when euthanizing a cat or dog.”

    You’re right, but for the wrong reason. A massive overdose of dirt cheap phenobarbital is something we’d never use on even the most despised of human criminals. What it does is makes the death look pretty as it burns its way through the pet, paralysing its nervous system along the way to keep it from twitching as it dies.

    From the dictionary: euthanasia n. - The deliberate puttng to death in an easy, painless way, of a person suffering from an incurable and agaonizing disease: also called mercy killing.

    Whether by bullet or needle, it’s the same thing for the same reason. Euthanasia by lethal injection is still lethal injection. It’s fast, but I doubt it’s as fast as a bullet.

    Is this discussion really about mercy killing, or is it more a soapbox for radical rightwing antigun nuts to stand on?

  19. Sylvia says:

    This idiot grew up on a farm on what planet where shooting an animal is ok? I can only assume that no vet told him his dog was sick or that no vet was consulted to see if the dog could be helped. Hope no member of this jerk’s family gets “sick” - he’ll just shoot them. And he is a police officer, carrying a gun, allowed to make life or death decisions - let me see, he’s already proved that he doesn’t do that well - wake up people - this guy should be prosecuted. “Not knowing” shooting a dog is wrong, ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it and he broke the law so why is he being givn a pass?

  20. Sharon says:

    When my mom was dying of cancer she was in so much pain she asked my dad to take her out back and shoot her. Do you think he did it? He was a cop and there is no way in hell he would ever hurt a person or an animal unless it was in self-defense.

    How sick was the dog? What was wrong with it? Why wasn’t it taken to a vet? to let that animal (and I’m talking about the cop here) loose on the street with a gun is insanity. How many people has he shot and how many of those killings were justifiable? People like that belong in jail. He deserves to go to prison. I’m sure there are a few dog lovers there that would show him what sick is.

  21. Hazel Chambers says:

    Who let Jack out of the nut house? Animal rights people hate animals and want to poison them!

    Jack…do you wear tin foil on your head so you can get these messages from outer space?

    I am not going to bother addressing your comments because they are obviously the delusional rantings of a lunatic.

    Folks….he is a troll ignore this nut case…he does not deserve a second of our time.

  22. Hazel Chambers says:

    And Don… one has advocated disarming anyone here….what we have stated is that guns should be used in a responsible manner….not for killing your partner as this creep did.

    Talk to your vet about the euthanasia process….a sedative such as ketamine is used so the animal feels no pain if done properly.

    As for the death penalty….I do not support it because it is far more expensive and mistakes can be made…..if someone does a horrid crime….lock them up and thow away the key.

  23. Velvet's Dad says:

    Jack has inserted his irrational diatribes in this site before. Best thing to do is just ignore him. Unfortunately, he has more than a few screws loose.

  24. Donna says:

    A poor desision maker with a gun and a badge………………not a good idea. Able to kill his partner with out any hesitation………….loose cannon. Needs to removed from police work. Judgement call….way off base.Compassion level……..0 REMOVE HIM ! Walking time bomb.

  25. NH says:

    What the hell is this? Old Yeller!? That cop should be thrown off the force! What a loser!

  26. pr says:

    The AVMA considers using a gun as a perfectly humane method of putting an amial down. It is one of the primary methods for putting down a horse. Look under their website:
    “There are three methods acceptable for the euthanasia of horses: chemical euthanasia, with pentobarbital or a pentobarbital combination (euthanasia solution); gunshot; and penetrating captive bolt.”. The method is no less humane when done to a dog. The officer may or may not have made a correct decision regarding the dog’s illness, but the method he chose was one out of love — rather than take the animal to a place with needles and technicians and where he might or might not be allowed to have “his human” with him (It’s not always allowed in every vet office), the officer chose to have the dog die quickly, doing something he enjoyed. How sad that everyone seems to be into condeming him for that. As for humans, “death with dignity” is a major issue for most people as opposed to dying hooked up to umpteen tubes. Plenty of people choose guns for suicide precisely because it is quick and usually very effective.

  27. mark says:

    the dog was his partner.
    im sure he didnt take this lightly.
    im sure he was sad and didnt want to shoot him.
    why take the dog to a stranger to be injected?
    he had a special bond with his dog and wanted to be the one to put him down.
    leave the man alone to grieve for his loss.

  28. anna says:

    …he had all the right to make that decision. Do You people think that he has no feelings?! Kozars was his dog, his partner…they both saved each other. All You people who hates him for that look at yourself…how clean is Your past? What have You done in Your life? Deputy Willcox serves our community…why all of You call him names? He didnt deserve it…that’s how You people THANKS to our HEROS?!…it is so sad…it is so sad that so many of us are ready to judge this man.

  29. mark c says:

    i am dog lover all dogs and cat have the right to to be spoild rotten untill the time of when they have a health issue and need proper vet care there are laws in place that you can not hurt a cop the same laws should apply-note only if a dog or cat passes in ones sleep that is much better for the dog and handler

  30. Emily S. says:

    I think he should have used better judgement because he was an officer and that dog was his partner. I do understand his side of this though. If an animal is suffering immensely and is going to die anyway then the best thing to do is put it out of its pain. A lot of people grew up with that being taught to them. I had to do this with my German Shepherd, but I put her down with an injection at the vet. As much as I hate to say it, Shooting a dog behind the ear, If youre going to at all, is the best place because it will die instantly and not feel any pain. This method however is grusome and I can’t see how anyone can put a gun to the head of an animal they were close too. I do understand that growing up in a rural background this may have been the best idea at the time and the dog died in the comfort of its own home, but still….not the brightest idea in the world.

  31. Emily S. says:

    I also forgot to say that the officer didnt take this lightly and has to be suffering emotionally from it and to make it worse the blood-sucking media as well as everyone who hates him is making this time harder for him. He did it out of love for the dog. It was humane-although not the prettiest way to go. The only reason I think it wasnt the best idea is becaus the dog was popular and everyone knew him so he should have gone to the vet to be euthanized via injection to avoid ignorant angry remarks made by the public. Also to “Donna” how did you know he didnt hesitate? were you there when he did it?

  32. rene says:

    it is wrong 2 hert a police dog.i have a german sheperd he is only 2 years old he is not a police dog but the point is that man should be arested!!!it is a inasent dog it is sad what pepole treat dogs,cat (eta) poorly

  33. karl says:

    How did they euthanize Ol’ Yeller? When you grow up on a farm, like Thomas Jefferson wanted all of us to do, you get a different set of values. Hard work and doing things yourself are virtues, not something to be avoided. Just like it’s ok to have some free speech until someone gets offended, then it’s wrong - that’s how it works today. Don’t like it? Get screamed at be the media and these people who like to hear themselves in comment boxes agreeing about how much they are turned off by whatever. They stand around and agree with each other, and the result is a first amendment that is ok so long as it’s what the media likes - and no one will fight for it.

    The animal rights activist who said “Oh, it could have gone wrong and then what?” Gee, if you’re a shooter you know you don’t do it until it will go right. Use a gun with more than one shell. Are these people seriously dumb enough to think that when you shoot an animal you unload into it wherever until it stops moving? It’s plenty humane when you know what you’re doing. I’m against torturing animals for fun or whatever. That said, I’d much rather be shot than deal with lethal injection or ol’ sparky. Why do you think they strap you down for it?

    There is a story of a man whose barn was on fire, so he took out his rifle and shot every one of his cows so they wouldn’t burn alive. I’m sure he was sick in the head, too, not compassionate about the animals.

  34. Jenni says:

    The AVMA also testified in court that hanging a hog until it died was humane. Don’t listen to the propaganda.

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