By Jimmie Ferguson
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen police killed a dog that owners and neighbors described as a teddy bear.
Tommi Paden bawls as she thinks back to Saturday when the police officer shot Brutus, her 3-year-old Rottweiler, in the head when the dog jumped off the wheelchair ramp on the porch of her home in the 2700 block of Lewis Street in Killeen.
Paden said a number of police officers and an animal control officer stood by as Brutus suffered for more than an hour before one of them suggested that they take the dog to the veterinarian.
"I begged and begged them to put him to sleep, and they wouldn't do it," Paden said. "The police said, We are not allowed to. We just have to contain the threat.' Brutus suffered there for more than an hour."
Killeen Assistant Police Chief Larry Longwell said Tuesday that the case is being reviewed by his department's professional standards officer.
"Anytime there's a discharge of a weapon, our professional standards officer has to review it. He will talk to witnesses and investigate the situation," said Longwell, noting that he could not comment until after the review has been completed.
According to Paden, everything began to unravel around 3 p.m. Saturday when she let Brutus and her border collie outside in their fenced-in yard "to potty."
She heard Brutus barking.
"Brutus didn't bark unless somebody is trying to get through the gate in the yard. That was the only time he barked," she said.
Paden said she got back into her wheelchair and made it to the door. From there, she saw a man at her fence with a stick in one hand and his other hand on the gate.
"He was rattling the gate saying, I'm going to get you. I'm going to have you killed!'" Paden said. "Later, when I got my glasses on, I figured out that the man was an animal control officer and the stick was the one with the noose on it that they use to snag animals."
Paden said she then woke up her husband, and they put the dogs back inside their home.
"As my husband was talking to the animal control officer, the animal control officer kept saying, I'm going to have that dog shot. I'm calling the cops,'" Paden said.
Paden demonstrated how she blocked the doorway in her wheelchair, preventing the dogs from getting back outside.
"I sat here for a few minutes, and a police officer drives up," she said, noting the officer talked to her husband initially.
"With his hand on his gun, the police officer walks over here," said Paden, pointing to an area nearly in front of the door. "He (the police officer) said, I need some ID.'"
As her husband began to slip by the wheelchair, Paden said Brutus peeped outside and the police officer backed up and started to draw his gun. "I said, Put the gun down, he will not bite. He's a working dog."
As a working dog, Paden said, Brutus used to accompany her to fetch things, turn lights on and off for her and do other things she was unable to do because of her disability until he had grown considerably.
"At that time I stopped taking him with me," she said. "He (Brutus) had also gotten so big that everybody was scared of him. But he has never done anything to anybody. Never growl or nothing, unless you tried to get into the yard. After you get in the yard, he jumps on you and wants to play."
On Saturday, when she backed up her wheelchair to allow her husband to go inside the house to get their identifications, she said Brutus slipped outside. As the dog jumped off the wheelchair ramp, the Padens said the police officer shot him.
"My husband started down the ramp to help Brutus, and the cop told him to get his ass back on the porch and stay away from the dog," Paden said. "My husband then kind of fainted ... just fell out on the ground."
Paden said everyone living near her home knows Brutus was not vicious. "But because he was a Rottweiler, they shot him," she said. "They didn't give him a chance."
Stacey Brooke, 33, said she used to visit the Padens quite often and Brutus was always a very mild-mannered, sweet and loving dog.
"He played all the time," Brooke said. "You tell him to sit up, and he would sit up. You tell him to roll over, he would roll over. He was a very good dog, and I am not a dog person."
Ray Ridgdill, the next-door neighbor, said Brutus wasn't what he appeared to be.
"He would bark. But if you did like that, he would run," said Ridgdill, 56, making an aggressive motion.
"That officer didn't have to shoot that dog," Ridgdill said. "All it was doing was barking ... wasn't attacking him or nothing. It was real pitiful, I tell you."
Paden said it was well after 5 p.m. when one of the police officers suggested that they should take Brutus to a vet. She said it was about 20 minutes before they left when they finally gave him a shot to put him down.
"They let him lay there for more than an hour, because he was a Rottweiler," she said. "I'm mad because they let him lay there and twitch, before they would finally put him down. And I had to sit here and see that.
"I would understand if he had bitten somebody. I would have had him put down and everything else. But that dog had nothing in his heart to do but to play."
Contact Jimmie Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org