Outrage Erupts After Missouri Police Officer Shoots Blind and Deaf Dog

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.25 - 2024 11:11 AM CET

Animals
Photo: Change.org
Photo: Change.org
Thousands Demand Justice After Police Kill Shih Tzu Named Teddy

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The small town of Sturgeon, Missouri, is embroiled in controversy after a police officer shot and killed a tiny blind and deaf dog named Teddy.

The incident has sparked widespread outrage, with thousands calling for the officer to be fired.

A Misunderstood Encounter

Teddy, a 13-pound Shih Tzu, had wandered into a neighbor’s yard on Sunday when police were called to handle what was reported as an injured animal.

Officer Myron Woodson responded to the call and, as shown in body cam footage, chased Teddy around a large field, attempting unsuccessfully to catch him.

According to a post on the City of Sturgeon's Facebook page, the officer believed Teddy might be "infected with rabies" due to his behavior.

The City stated,

"Based on the behavior exhibited by the dog, believing the dog to be severely injured or infected with rabies, and as the officer feared being bitten and infected with rabies, the SPD officer felt that his only option was to put the animal down."

Public Backlash

The decision to shoot Teddy has been met with fierce criticism online. The City’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments denouncing the police force. One user called the Sturgeon police a “joke,” while another described the incident as “disgusting and disappointing.”

“UNACCEPTABLE!!!!! Sturgeon Police force is seriously a joke,” one person wrote. Another comment read, “This is a disgrace. The officer involved needs to be immediately removed from duty and charged with felony animal abuse.”

Despite the public outcry, officials determined within four days that Officer Woodson’s actions were justified. However, many remain unconvinced, especially after learning that Teddy’s behavior was due to his disabilities—he was both blind and deaf.

Owner's Heartbreak

Nicolas Hunter, Teddy's owner, revealed that Teddy was five years old and had been born deaf, losing his sight about two years ago. On the day of the incident, Teddy had escaped from his kennel, and his collar had slipped off.

Despite his disabilities, Hunter described Teddy as a lively dog.

Hunter shared a video with ABC 17 News showing his encounter with Officer Woodson, where the topic of rabies was never mentioned. He confirmed that Teddy was up to date on all his vaccinations, including rabies.

"The officer was going strictly based off the fact that the dog walks with his head sideways due to him being deaf and blind," Hunter said. He has since filed a lawsuit against the city and criticized the City’s statement on Facebook, which he claims contradicts what he was told by Officer Woodson.

Calls for Accountability

Social media users continue to call for justice. “What a disgusting and disappointing response to abuse of power and neglect of an animal,” wrote one person. Another added, “If your officers are that afraid of a little dog wandering around... maybe, just maybe, they shouldn’t be police officers.”

Teddy’s tragic death has led to a broader discussion about police conduct and accountability, especially in handling situations involving animals. As the debate rages on, the residents of Sturgeon and animal lovers nationwide await further developments in this deeply unsettling case.

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