Posted by: reformedmusings | August 8, 2010

Off duty LEO kills family pet

File this as another one under the idiocy of “only cops should have guns.” Across the river in Maryland, whose laws are virulently anti-gun for ordinary citizens, a supposed off-duty LEO shot another family’s dog at a dog park. At first, the thin blue line did a cursory investigation (i.e., showed up at the scene) and dismissed the issue. However, public outrage caused the thin blue line to backpedal. Now even the Humane Society will be included in the current investigation. Questions have arisen as to whether Keith Shephard, the off-duty federal civilian LEO who killed the dog, was legally authorized to carry a concealed weapon off duty in Maryland. At this point, Shepherd has lawyered up and the blue line has circled the wagons again.

BTW, officials refuse to formally release the LEO’s name out of fear for his safety? He’s the one who apparently thinks that he lives in the Wild West. I fear for the other pets in his neighborhood.

Shephard’s story differs dramatically from other witnesses and those who knew the slain dog. Although Shephard claims that Bear-Bear, the Husky he killed, attacked his dog Asia (a German Shepherd) and then him, neither had any visible injuries at the scene. Yet Shephard claims self-defense through his lawyer.

I encountered two incidents years ago that provide me with direct insight into this kind of situation. I was walking my Shepherd/Malamute mix on a leash years ago to a local park. A significantly larger dog that was some kind of Retriever mix came running across the street towards us. My dog was about 75 lbs and the other looked to be over 100 lbs. or more. I initially thought that the retriever was looking to play, but it clamped down hard on my dog’s neck. There was no mistaking this was an attack.

I didn’t shoot the large dog who, at the time, probably weighed close to what I weighed, nor did I stab it with my knife although I could easily have done so. I simply grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and pulled it off my dog. I then interposed myself between the retrieve and my dog, who assumed a defensive posture but was clearly surprised by the action. It broke away from my grip and attacked my dog again. As I grabbed it by the throat to separate it again, the retriever’s owner came running and took control of the dog. I warned the owner that this would be the last time I’d let the situation go. The retriever was far larger than the Husky that was killed in Maryland, and I was not even tempted to shoot it.

In another situation around the same time, there was a dog that would bark and throw itself against its chain link fence whenever I walked by that area with my dog, again always on a leash. One day that dog jumped the chain link fence much to my surprise and came running at us. Not wanting a repeat of the earlier incident or my dog (who was pretty well trained) to be accused of being the instigator, I told my dog to stay and stepped between my dog and the attacking dog. I took an aggressive stance and verbally challenged the other dog. It stopped dead in its tracks. I verbally challenged it again and stepped towards the dog, and it quickly retreated. The next time we walked by that area, the offender barked but never left its fenced yard again.

At the time of these incidents, I only weighed about 135 lbs. It wasn’t my size that intimidated the dogs. It was a commanding voice and actions that indicated a) no fear; and 2) willingness to engage if challenged.

Unless a dog is trained to attack or fight humans or other dogs, it will generally not challenge someone who stands taller than they and clearly shows that they are not afraid of the dog. That’s not to say that dogs won’t play rough. I’d garnered plenty of scratches from my dog’s teeth and nails during roughhousing, and that was fine with me. I loved wrestling with him. But there’s a major gap between roughhousing and an attack. Perhaps Keith Shephard doesn’t have the education to tell the difference. If so, he should not carry a weapon to a dog park.

In fact, with the lack of judgment and education apparently shown, one could question whether Shephard  should ever be allowed to wear a badge. I do know for sure that if an ordinary citizen even with a concealed carry permit had shot that day, they’d be in jail and up to their eyes in bail debt. That’s the double standard clear and simple.



  1. […] to clean up a few backlogged items. In my earlier post, I recounted how an off-duty LEO shot another family’s dog for playing with his dog in a […]

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