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Arlington police clear officer who killed family dog

01/17/2012 9:18 PM

01/17/2012 9:39 PM

ARLINGTON -- An Arlington police officer who fatally shot a family dog in October was justified in doing so, the Police Department has determined after a two-month administrative review.

Officer Jesse Davis responded to a report of a dog bite Oct. 4 in the 6900 block of Lake Jackson Drive, police said. Police were summoned after an 11-year-old boy told his grandfather that a dog chased him on the way home from school, knocked him down and bit him in the back.

As another police officer and an animal control officer spoke with the dog's owner, Robert "Buck" Yandle, the dog, an American Rottweiler/basset mix, bolted from the house and charged at Davis, who was standing about 15 feet from the door, police say.

"Officer Davis retreated further into the yard, attempting to retreat from the threat," the administrative review says. "As he backed up, [Davis] became trapped in a corner where a fence intersects with the home and was unable to get away as the dog continued to charge, growl and bark at him.

"The dog disregarded its owner's command to stop. Not knowing this dog's medical history and fearing that he would be bit by the dog, [Davis] fired six rounds from his weapon. Based on forensic information, the dog was jumping at the officer at which time he was shot several times. The dog died as a result of the shooting."

Dog's owner disagrees

Robert Yandle told internal-affairs investigators that his three children witnessed the shooting, which left them screaming and crying.

Arlington police said officers are trained to eliminate a physical threat and have the right to use deadly force when a dog is charging and preparing to attack.

The boy who was bitten had a bruised back, but his skin was not broken, police said. Robert Yandle's wife, Natalie Yandle, disputed the police's version of events, including that the officers had asked for the dog's vaccination records before the incident.

"Some of the things that are in there are straight-up lies," she said. She said animal control officers told the family that the bite victim had no injuries.

"Now in the report it says there was a bruise," she said.

Social media concerns

In the weeks after the incident, Davis received an oral reprimand for posting a photo of himself pointing a handgun on a social media page and making inflammatory responses to negative posts on the page.

"While the actions of Officer Davis are in poor taste, they were not a violation of Department policy," the review says.

The department said it will review its social media policy. Davis was also involved in the fatal shooting of a dog in September 2009. He and fellow officer Mark Gremillion were cleared of wrongdoing.

Patrick M. Walker,

817-390-7423

Twitter: @patrickmwalker1

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