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Friday, September 2, 2011

Police shoot dog in Parklawn

Tommy Tomlo with Dodge and Crash
Residents of the Parklawn neighborhood who had repeatedly complained about a loose pit bull needn’t worry any more – Fairfax County police officers shot and killed the dog this morning while the owner, Tom Tomlo of Everglade Drive, was at work.

Lucy Caldwell, a spokesperson with Animal Control, says the department received a call this morning about a loose dog, and when police officers arrived, the dog charged, so an officer shot it.

Tomlo heard about the incident from a neighbor and rushed home. When he got there, he found “three or four police cars and a caravan in front of my house and my dog lying on the front porch with a bullet in his head.”

An officer said “your dog has been out of control,” Tomlo recalls. “I said ‘you are approaching this the wrong way.’ Someone shot my dog and you’re questioning me.’ This is a crime.”

Tomlo has had the dog, named Crash, since he found him as a four-week-old puppy on a parking lot in Alabama about eight years ago. “He was the best dog I’ve ever had. He was very gentle, very intelligent,” he says.

Crash was not a pit bull, he says. “He was a mutt mixed with several breeds. He had characteristics that made him resemble a pit.” And many people in the neighborhood thought he was one.

Tomlo acknowledged that Crash has repeatedly run off, but he says he had fixed his fence and wasn’t aware that Crash had gotten loose again. “He never attacked or bit anyone,” he says, although “he would bark if someone walked up to him.”

“They said the dog was aggressive and the officer felt threatened,” Tomlo says. “The dog was on the front porch, and he felt threatened when the officer approached. . . . Any animal would have reacted that way.”

“If my dog was preventing the cops from investigating a crime or was on the neighbor’s property, I would totally understand what happened,” he says. “But he was 10 feet from my front steps.”

“He was part of my family. There was no justification for shooting him,” says Tomlo, who was still coming to terms with the loss of his pet. “They took the dog corpse for an autopsy. I don’t know why as it’s pretty obvious he was shot in the head. I hadn’t even had a chance to say goodbye.”


25 comments:

  1. Once again the police rush to kill. They really need better training to deal with these situations.

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  2. The entire Parklawn Community is saddened to learn of this, however we should wait to hear the facts. This owner has been asked to keep his dog in for years dating back to 2008. He did not do so and let the dog roam free through our neighborhood. Fairfax police are highly trained and should be given ample time to release a statement about what happened.
    Parklawn Resident

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  3. It is irresponsible to let an aggressive dog outside without a leash and the owner in control of it. Why are neighbors training their dogs to bark savagely and attack police anyway? Your front porch, the approach to your home is not exactly public property, but people have to be able to walk to it to knock on your door...otherwise live in the country.

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  4. As someone who has two small children and had a neighbor with a very large dog that got loose, I side with the police on this one. It is a huge quality of life issue when you have to plan your outdoor family activities around your neighbor. I can only assume Tomlo has never seen or dealt with the trauma that comes from a toddler being mauled by a "friendly" dog.

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  5. Why was a police officer dispatched in this case. which most clearly involves the issue of animal control. At the very least, the public should be advised w/respect to the Rules of Enagagement (ROE) governing an officer's boundaries when dealing w/dogs on private property.

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  6. mans best friend. R.I.P.

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  7. The dog was NOT loose, he was laying on the front porch. Officers shot him - ON THE PORCH. Very tragic, and I'm very sorry for this persons loss.

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  8. As a Parklawn resident I can first say that dog was a sweetheart with not a mean bone in his body. He was never "allowed" to run lose but had gotten out of his fence - which happens to people's dogs all the time. The dog was on its own property and on its own porch. There is no law in Fairfax County that reguires a dog to be leashed on its own property. I would like to see the police who say that they were rushed take a lie detector on it. I would also like to see their shooting profiles and why they didn't use non-deadly force such as pepper spray. The police trespassed on this man's property and killed his dog depriving him of his property -- he has a good lawsuit against them.

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  9. Shooting your dog on your front porch - what has this world come to? That police officer should be punished. Why wasn't animal control brought in?

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  10. Trigger happy police with no training in how to handle dogs. They shouldn't be carrying guns and shooting pets on people's personal property.

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  11. Trigger happy police with no training in how to handle dogs. They shouldnt be carrying guns and shooting pets on people's personal property.

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  12. What was the cop doing in the neighborhood in the first place? Someone must have called the cops on the dog for a reason. The dog barked? For years, every time my brother stepped outside his house, the neighbor's dog would bark at him until he went back inside. Do you know how annoying and stressful that is, when you can't walk around your own property without your self-centered neighbor's dog barking at you? He even tried making friends with the dog, but the owner had turned it into a hateful beast. There is more here than we're being told and the owner sounds a bit self-absorbed. I love animals, especially dogs, but irresponsible, thoughtless, sloppy, dog-owners think they have more rights than anyone else. Wake up to reality. Large dogs need to be in the countryside, not in crowded suburban areas. Want a pet? Get a house cat.

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  13. Crash and Dodge were/are great, gentle, sweet dogs with a poor owner. I have returned them, more than once, to their home. This was a totally preventable situation, I'm devastated that Crash was killed, sad for Dodge, who lost her buddy and furious with Tom for not fixing an issue that had gone on for years.

    The police should not have resorted to this level of force over a dog loose in its own yard, but for Crash to be loose, again, was Tom's fault.

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  14. This is likely the tragic result from hysterical and biased bad PR on pit bulls. Each dog, like people, should be addressed individually. No stereotyping assumption that this is an aggressive and therefore, a "dangerous dog." So, any dog sitting on someone's stoop isn't necessarily a threat. Yes, it is illegal for any dog to be unleased in public. I guess it is a question as to whether your front stoop is considering your property or public property.

    Regardless if the dog were unleashed, it would not be normal operating procedure for Police and Animal Control to shoot it, unless there are some facts we just don't have in this case. If something went terribly wrong here, which it sure seems to be so, it will come out and be addressed...Those wheels are turning.

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  15. A dog does not need to be leashed on ones own property. Yes owners need to prevent dogs from wandering off their property. But there is no justification for shooting a dog on it's own property. And every first hand account of this dog states it was sweet and gentle. Making the account of the dog attacking seeming unlikely. WTOP states it was an animal control officer that shot the dog. I think I am terrified of animal control carrying guns.

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  16. to the 9/3 11:26am poster. You clearly work for the police department or simlilar government branch and posted that comment in defense of the d-bag who shot the poor dog. Yes, I am right, otherwise you would not have known the dog was complained about since 2008 nor would you have said to give the d-bag police dept time to release a statement. you are not a neighbor either because all the neighbors like the dog. "Zac", you were also clearly posting as per direction from the police dept. And to the 9/5 3:09pm poster... you are terrified of animal control people carrying guns? what about cops carrying guns? Hahaha, most cops are cops because they didn't do too well in school and became officers because its the next best thing when you can't get a higher paying job. There should be an intelligence / IQ test given to anyone who has/buys/ owns a gun. 95% of police shouldnt even be allowed to have one. trigger happy, power happy, cops...

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  17. What really happened in Parklawn - Who shot the dog? - and in the head, no less - The whole incident sickens me. Was it FFX Police or Animal Control? I don't remember seeing a white animal control van at Tommy's house that morning. Nothing but police cars and a black SUV. Did the dog physically attack the police officer or animal control officer or was the "officer" just overly nervous and shot the dog and "asked questions later" Why wasn't a tranquilizer or pole net used to capture the dog?? We could never get animal control to come out to our house when the neighborhood fox wouldn't leave our yard, so it really surprises me they came out to get the roaming dog(Crash) So many questions...I am sure we as a neighborhood will never really know the truth, but I hope that in time Tommy will learn the truth.

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  18. Like I said before, I was able to get animal control out to my neighborhood a few times about my neighbor. You just call the police non-emergency line. But there aren't many of them. Once, the guy was like 45 minutes away and he just didn't come because well it was Friday and he was to be getting off soon, He called me back.

    So even though the dog got out many times, chased kids in the playground, fought other dogs because he was loose, my neighbor still never got charged or written up or whatever. So it means nothing to say my dog is "nice" and it never got written up.

    Again, we don't know the whole story or why it was called in. Was it chasing and harassing people, someone called and when the police came it was on its porch?

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  19. My first encounter with Crash came when I saw him walking down the sidewalk one afternoon. I got out of my truck with a rope, approached him, gave him a dog biscuit and put the rope around his neck. He allowed me to read his tag, and I took him home. He was more apt to bark and run than to bark and run at you. Officers (both police and animal control)responding to animals at large should be trained in and required to use non-lethal methods to secure an animal--especially a collared and tagged family pet--before using their service weapons. I'm pretty sure, from experience, that a dog treat would have worked nicely in this case. Crash would have loved it.

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  20. My first time meeting Crash was in 2008. He and Dodge came running across the street to me as I was walking my 2 year old (in a stroller) and my dog (an actual pit bull, not a mix like Crash). My first reaction was terror - two large unknown dog were coming at me and my kid and I was too pregnant to run. Within about 5 seconds I could see that I was in no danger - as they goofily frolicked with my dog. They followed me home. I called the number on Crash's tag - it was not in service. So, I walked them back to the street where it started (I lived two blocks away) and asked the first person I saw if they knew the dogs. They did, and told me where to return them. I saw Crash often after that, usually running loose. I avoided Everglades because he would follow me home. His owner knew his escapism was a frequent problem, everyone did. Because we all got to know that Crash was a giant goofball, and Tommy was genial, it went on for too long. I am very sad that Crash died over the lack of a decent fence.

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  21. why couldnt animal control do their job and catch the dog instead of some trigger happy public servant wasting the dog in its own front yard??? Not acceptable

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  22. Ample time to release a statement... I dont know what you have been smoking, but the only statement you will EVER see from a police department that has been involved in a shooting, especially of a dog they "THOUGHT" was a pit bull, is cover up... how the poor police officer felt terrible about what he or she (usually a testosterone afflicted male) had to do, but "had no choice."

    And already you have departmental experts, dog experts (as if they really were, telling us poor uniformed citizens that when a dog is attacking, the only effective means to stop the attack is with a gun.

    Hmmmn, sounds like a warning we all should head seriously and go buy a guy - never know when we might get attacked...

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  23. if this had been my dog, this cop would give no more statements without a lot of pain.

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  24. John Harrison9/13/11, 9:59 AM

    My family member, Rosco, was executed in a similar manner a few weeks ago. I would like Crashes owner to know he is not alone. There are many of us standing against this atrocity with him If he would like to see who we are, On FaceBook, try "Justice for Ace, Justice for Rosie. Remembering Rosco Harrison, or Mr Policeman, Don't shoot my dog."
    PS, The previous negative comments by "anonymous" fit a pattern that are almost a carbon copy of what every law enforcement entity does in each of theses incidents. Snide semi-officious commentary under the cloak of anonymity. If you have the balls to shoot a dog, You should also have the balls to state your (real) name when you comment publically.

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  25. So Tom Tomlo KNEW that Crash repeatedly ran off, and he acknowledged that several neighbors erroneously believed that Crash was a Pit. And that Crash "barked if someone walked up to him. " Still, he left Crash in the back yard, instead of safely in the house, and went off to work. I'm absolutely not defending the gun-happy cop who shot Crash, but isn't his guardian to blame for setting up the whole scenario that led to this???

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