Vulgar comments and negative public reaction on social media accounts about last week’s fatal shooting of a pet dog by a York County deputy have demoralized and disappointed the department, sheriff’s office officials said Wednesday.
The sheriff’s office released on Wednesday the video and audio recordings of the incident after a barrage of angry phone calls, emails and comments. The recording, taken by a dashcam inside a deputy’s patrol car, does not show the deputy’s encounter with the 9-year-old Labrador retriever on March 4.
The shooting happened in the backyard of the house and the patrol car was parked in the front driveway. The stationary camera was pointed toward the front of the house.
The recordings show that the deputy walked toward the dog’s backyard 38 seconds before the animal suddenly barked and was shot.
Audio recordings from Deputy Jonathan Reed’s on-person microphone indicate the scene was quiet until the dog suddenly and aggressively barked. After the shooting, Reed told another deputy that the “dog charged me.”
The department released the recordings so the public can get a “full picture” of what the officers faced, said Sheriff’s Office Attorney Kris Jordan. The recordings were released along with similar recordings from a Feb. 25 incident in which another deputy shot a man during a routine traffic stop in Clover. The victim was initially hospitalized.
The sheriff’s office has been flooded with “appalling” and vulgar comments on social media accounts in the past two weeks and received “horrible, horrible emails” commenting on the deputies involved in the separate incidents, Jordan said.
“These two situations have affected the agency greatly.”
Reed was one of two deputies sent to the home of Alice Renee McGlone on Clara Street after police received a call from her daughter in Virginia. McGlone’s daughter hadn’t spoken to her mother since Feb. 26.
Officers arrived at McGlone’s house around 4 p.m. last Tuesday, but didn’t get an answer when they knocked on the front door. The deputies noticed that there was no car in the driveway and Reed saw a broken window screen on the side of the house.
Reed was knocking on a window at the rear of the house when he saw the dog, named Scarlett, “charging” toward him and “snarling with bared teeth,” according to the sheriff’s office report. He then realized that the dog was on a leash.
“The leash was long enough to allow the dog to reach me before I could get away,” Reed wrote in the report. “I instinctively drew my handgun and fired once, striking the dog in the top of the head.”
The shot killed the dog instantly. The deputy wasn’t injured. In the audio of the dashcam video, a short spurt of dog barks and a yell can be heard immediately followed by a single shot.
McGlone, who adopted her dog at six weeks old from a shelter, buried Scarlett the next afternoon in her backyard under a tree. She told The Herald then that she was confused as to why the officer didn’t use alternative methods to stop Scarlett.
Officers are able to use the same capabilities against an animal that they would a human, including tasers, but a taser might have been harder to use on a dog, Jordan said this week.
“We don’t go out the door thinking we’re going to kill a dog today,” said Sheriff Bruce Bryant, who reviewed the footage along with other staff. “We’re human, folks.”
After authorities released the recordings from her house, McGlone said that she remains “at a loss” for words about the incident. She’s lost nights of sleep, she said, and feels scared at home without Scarlett.
While she’s still upset, she said she doesn’t want to carry ill will toward the deputy involved. Whether Reed had no choice but to shoot Scarlett may be unclear but she is praying for him, she said.
McGlone doesn’t feel she’s ready to watch or hear the footage released by the sheriff’s office, she said. But, when she does, McGlone says she hopes it will give her closure.