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Swing and a Miss

November 21, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


ESSEX — The Essex police officer acquitted Tuesday of a charge of cruelty to animals has returned to patrol.

Michael Wootton, 35, of Waterville was placed on paid administrative duty in May after he was arraigned on charges related to his fatal shooting of his neighbor’s dog.

The Essex Police Department is reviewing the evidence and testimony from Wootton’s trial, Capt. Brad LaRose said. The job status of Wootton, a corporal, could change again pending the review, LaRose said, adding he could not say more because the matter was a personnel issue.

Tuesday in Vermont District Court in Hyde Park, Wootton said he shot Hooch, an 80 pound pit bull mix, April 30 to save the life of his dog, a 20 pound pug named Yoda. Yoda wandered near Hooch’s pen, Hooch jumped the fence, and the two dogs began fighting, according to witness testimony.

The jury in Wootton’s case deliberated for six hours before reaching a verdict.

State law permits killing a pet if that animal poses a reasonable threat of injuring another pet — and Hooch posed a reasonable threat of killing Yoda, Wootton’s attorney, Frank Twarog, argued in court.

Lamoille County State’s Attorney Joel Page contended Wootton, instead of shooting Hooch dead, should have continued yelling at the dogs, waited for an opportunity to scoop up Yoda, tried wounding Hooch or fired a warning shot into the ground.

Thankfully the jury in this case is a lot smarter than the Lamoille County State’s Attorney.  I know that the defense and prosecuting lawyers always have to come up with hair-brained schemes, but yell at an 80 pound pit bull?  I’m sure this is a case where the pit bull was perfectly well behaved, good with kids, like all the pit apologists are always saying.  Oh wait, they also claim it’s the owner of the dog that makes it evil, so are they up on charges?

Wait for an opportunity for the fight to break up long enough to grab his dog?  Has this attorney ever even seen a dog fight?

And finally wounding the animal or a warning shot?  That’s the funniest thing of all, because had the officer done this, he’d be sitting in the same witness box, with the prosecutor blathering on about how if the dog was really dangerous, why didn’t he shoot to kill, instead hurting the poor animal, etc.

Give me a break, this is just another case of a dog owner with a mental defect who thinks getting a pit bull is a good idea.  The dog then did what so many other pit bulls do which is snap and attack either another animal or some kid.  This happens all the damn time, which is why insurance companies, rental property owners, and cities are banning the breed.  The owners then piss and moan about how good their dog is, how unfair it is, then months later have the bewildered look while the TV cameras are in their face.

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