Sheriff: dogcatchers need training Patrick Parkinson Of the Record staff
December 17, 2005
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds stands by his deputy who shot and killed a woman’s dog last week in Trailside. But the Summit County Animal Control workers who allegedly stood by while a Snyderville Basin woman retrieved the dog’s body from a trash bin better watch out.
"I’m mad about that, I really am, because that’s not the kind of office I’m running here," Edmunds said. "When she did come back and ask for it we could have dug that out, my gosh, I would have dug it out myself." Highland Estates residents Jenny Schapper refused to take her husky’s remains last Friday after Summit County sheriff’s deputy Jeff Mackay killed the animal with a shotgun near Trailside Elementary School. Mackay has worked on and off for the department since 2000, Summit County human resources director Brian Bellamy said.
Schapper’s sister, Kristy Brown, told the Summit County Commission Wednesday about her experience retrieving the dog’s body at the Summit County Animal Shelter in Hoytsville.
"We want this conduct to be brought to attention," Brown said. "I had to climb into a Dumpster to recover my sister’s dog’s body."
She claims the Animal Control personnel who watched must be disciplined.
"I want people to know," Brown said. "To have a family member treated like a piece of garbage is just unacceptable." Mackay claims he fired several shots at Schapper’s dog Dec. 9 after it threatened a deer as state law allows citizens to do. But the close proximity of the shooting to an elementary school, park and public trail, have some people questioning the deputy’s reaction.
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"We’re all absolutely horrified with what happened," Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said.
According to Elliott, who acts as the commission’s liaison to the sheriff, "we’re going to change our procedures."
The county’s human resources department is looking into sensitivity training specific to animal control because "nobody likes the dogcatcher," Elliott added.
"I guess I want to do everything I can to keep this from happening again," Schapper said. "It doesn’t make any sense to me."
Utah law allows anyone to shoot a dog that threatens livestock or wildlife. Edmunds stressed Thursday that his deputies would still be enforcing the law and dealing with dangerous pets. Dogs must be leashed in public in Park City and Summit County. "The deputy did not act inappropriately. Animal owners need to understand if their pets, unleashed, running at large, are going to threaten wildlife, there is a strong likelihood that they could be disposed of as well," Edmunds said. "What we are going to be changing is the way Animal Control conducts business."
Schapper admits her dog shouldn’t have been allowed to run free and conceded her pet had previously spent time in county quarantine as punishment for bad behavior.