Police Say Dog Escaped During Shooting

Rex, a mixed breed that is possibly a labrador, survived two bullet wounds as well as an exit wound and several bullet grazes. He is currently living in a foster home on the coast where he is expected to make a slow recovery./Photo courtesy of Heather Lewis.

By ALLIE HOSTLER, Two Rivers Tribune

Rex is one in a million. Well, not quite a million, but likely hundreds of stray dogs that roam Hoopa.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe recognized the problem in 2006 and with a push from local animal rights activists passed a law to create a process for dealing with the animals.
But the law has flaws, as Rex learned on Sept. 11, 2012 when he was shot multiple times by police officers, and lived.

Although Rex cannot tell his own story, several teachers, students and staff are trying to do so in hopes of bringing attention to his shooting. Heather Lewis teaches fourth grade at Hoopa Elementary School. She also put up $500 of her own money to help pay for Rex’s veterinary bill.

“This is a sign of what’s going on in our community at large,” Lewis said. “It’s a cycle of abuse, first it’s animals, then it’s children, then it’s adults. I work here, I live nearby and I care.”
Rex is a black something-or-other breed who hung around Hoopa Elementary School occasionally grabbing a bite to eat and reveling in the affection of hundreds of students and teachers.

Hoopa Valley Tribal Police said they got a call from a school employee on the morning of Sept. 11 reporting the animal, Rex, as dangerous. When an officer responded to the school to retrieve the dog, he reported that he was bit by the dog.
“He spoke to the Chief of Police and was told to dispatch [kill] the dog,” Lieutenant Ed Guyer said.

Guyer said the officer took the animal up a nearby hill to put it down, but the first shot did not kill the dog.

“It took off running and continued to run up the hill,” Guyer said.

According to Lewis and Karin Glinden, another teacher at the school, Rex returned to the school that same day when kids boarded buses to go home.

Principal, Jennifer Lane said seeing Rex with bullet wounds traumatized the students, prompting tears in many of their eyes.

Lane, as many of the students and staff, questions the report made that Rex was dangerous, or had bitten anybody.

“To the best of my knowledge, there were no reports that Rex ever bit anybody,” Lane said. “If somebody was actually bitten, I would be aware.”

There is a policy against abandoning animals on school grounds and signs are posted throughout campuses in the entire school district alerting the public. Lane said fences were constructed around campus over the summer to help keep the campus more secure for several purposes, stray animals being one of them.

“The policy came about after the incidents with stray and feral animals at Trinity Valley Elementary more than a year ago,” she said.

Rex doesn’t read signs, a t least not the written kind. What Rex was after was love and more than a dozen letters written in support of his life prove that he was loved at Hoopa Elementary.

Josephine Caywood has worked for the school for more than 26 years arriving early, around 6am according to a letter she wrote about Rex. She said she fed the dog and that another teacher had also been feeding him.

“Never once did I observe him growl, nip or play rough with the students,” Caywood wrote. “I know that we are not supposed to have animals at school, but somehow my friend [Rex] thought it was his job to come every day and protect the kids.”

When Rex returned to the school after being shot, help was on its way. Greater Rural Rescue Society Volunteers answered the call and planned to take him to the vet in Willow Creek. However, Glinden decided to take the dog herself to a veterinarian in Sunny Brae.

Veterinarian, Malcolm Richardson provided a summary of Rex’s injuries along with graphic photos that the TRT chose not to publish.

“Brief summary: two bullet wounds, one to the head, one to the pelvic region, no bullets remained in the dog. Head: penetration from the lower mandible, fractured teeth lower mandible, lacerated tongue, maxillary canine and first premolar fractured, exit upper right lip. Pelvic: penetration near right anus, exit through left hip,” he wrote in an email.

In short, Rex was shot in the mouth and his butt. The shot in his mouth fractured several of his teeth and severed his tongue. The vet was able to sew his tongue back on and dental work is in Rex’s future. The bullet wound to his rear end entered under his tail and exited through his hip.

“I’m surprised he’s alive,” Glinden said. “The fact that he’s alive is amazing and should send a message to our community that animals should not be treated this way. The police need to be held accountable. I’ve watched this animal affect so many children’s lives. He’s done the work of prophets. He deserves the most humane treatment available.”

Guyer said the lack of infrastructure to support the Tribe’s law often leaves law enforcement with few options. One of their options is to call the Greater Rural Rescue Society, a local volunteer organization that shelters dogs and cats that are either on the brink of death or have nowhere else to go.

But, if a dog is reported as dangerous, or threatens the safety of an officer, it is ‘dispatched,’ or, in other words, killed by police. Tribal law enforcement does not have access to a shelter capable of quarantining an animal, or a shelter that is required to accept dangerous animals, such as Humboldt County, which has a shelter operated under the Sheriff’s Department.

Humboldt County does not have jurisdiction over the issue on the reservation.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to follow the ordinance. The way it is written, we need a facility,” Guyer said. “It’s well written, but we don’t have the land, the facility or the staff that would be needed to fully enforce that law.”

Guyer estimates that Tribal Police dispatches at least one dog per month by shooting, most of the time killing them after one shot.

Lane was careful not to place blame on anybody, but overall she commented on the increasingly obvious problem of animal neglect.

“How we treat our animals is a reflection on how we treat each other,” Lane said. “If ever we expect to improve our community, we need to start by taking better care of our animals.”

Glinden and Lewis believe Rex’s survival means something more than just surviving. It’s an opportunity to teach children how to be responsible pet owners and how to humanely treat animals.

Rex is recovering at his temporary home with Glinden on the coast. He will continue seeing the vet on a regular basis until he has fully recovered.

“The kids are thinking about having a fundraiser to help pay for Rex’s vet bills,” Lane said.

If you would like to donate to help Rex’s recovery, contact Hoopa Elementary School at (530)625-5600 and ask for Karin Glinden.

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September 26th, 2012

6 to “Police Say Dog Escaped During Shooting”

  1. "Henchman Of Justice" says:

    Then why have an ordinance if ya can’t implement it, dummies! The thug officer should be fired immediately for animal abuse and torture. Further, how many officers LIE about dogs biting or nipping or, or, or just to kill as thugs make-up lies to achieve their thugish goals….in this case, law enforcement feeling the social pinch and taking actions to accomplish their non-transparent goals through sinsiter, backwood methods. Fricken sick and disgusting human beings deserve to get their chit handed to them…in this case, the officer who attempted murder! – HOJ

  2. Sad but true says:

    The fact the tribal cops are getting away with this is mind boggling. Talk about evil people and bullies They answer to no one but themselves. I bet those kids hate cops now thanks to these guys. They kill at least 1 pet a month. Dang. I hope someone with the authority steps up and stops this crap. It’s gotta stop

  3. Tamera says:

    I don’t believe a dog has to be shot for biting an officer and I wander if this officer can show proof he was bitten by this dog or maybe he was taunting the dog that doesn’t make sense why the dog has never bitten anyone else. I would never believe officers there in the reservation to many things are covered up and I just wander what tribe their really on? Well this is not right and Thats good their is people out there that cares to have something done about cruelty to animals not only to animals even to our people. We need to stand up for what’s right and do what we can to help because this is ridiculous.

  4. Quetta Lei' says:

    Animal cruelty charges need to be filed against this cop. I doubt it would ever go anywhere though. Sucks to be you Rex!

  5. Local says:

    While I am very disturbed by the nature of the officer’s actions in this matter, I think there is more to be said. First of all, Humboldt County provides zero help for the stray dog issue in Hoopa. Infact they turn dogs away saying “we don’t take Hoopa dogs”, and then follow by saying “Hoopa Tribal Police deals with that, you’ll have to call them”. Second, Hoopa is a very impoverished community where many people cannot afford to have their dogs spayed or neutered. Therefore, it’s an ongoing problem that Tribal Police is forced to deal with. The reason I’m writing in on this is because I’m offended by the teachers who feel like it’s their job to correct us because they came to a reservation to teach kids and found that life here doesn’t jive with their own world view. That sentiment is mirrored by the anonymous “Henchmen of Justice”. Do you think it’s a new idea that people come here and try to tell us how and why we’re wrong? I would say that is the major flaw in your own kind. Yes, that’s exactly how you’re going to help children to bring negative attention to their community. That negative attention is something they, especially the boys, will have to fight the rest of their lives. Great job on your part though. You commute here from somewhere else, our community isn’t good enough for you to live in. Our school is good enough for your employment, but not good enough to send you children. You spend a few hours of the day here and only see a glimpse of who we are and think it’s your job to bring a media linch mob on us, because that’s the power that you have. If only I had such a priveledged backing when I see the attrocities that you cause…

  6. Humboldtrick says:

    The Hoopa Police officer who shot this dog, as well as the Police Chief who ordered this atrocity, should be removed from the force for being animal abusers.

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