Heyburn residents plan to hold elected officials accountable on fatal shooting of two dogs by police

Heyburn residents plan to hold elected officials accountable if no action is taken over fatal shooting of two dogs by police
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 8:35 AM MDT
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HEYBURN, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —A group of concerned citizens from the Heyburn area and beyond want their elected officials held accountable if no action is taken over the fatal shooting of two dogs over Memorial Day weekend by the Heyburn Police Department.

On Saturday evening, concerned residents held signs in front of the Heyburn Police Department to support the two dogs fatally shot over Memorial Day Weekend.

“It’s an injustice. It’s something we are all here to support together. It’s something that we strongly believe showed poor judgment from a man with a badge,” Alex Adams said.

On May 27, Heyburn Police Officers were dispatched by Minidoka County Sheriff to Interstate 84 near mile marker 211 for two uncontrolled loose dogs on the freeway, causing traffic safety concerns.

According to a press release from the Heyburn Police Department, officers tried to call the dogs to them, including whistling, calling, and shouting, but the dogs were uncooperative.

Additionally, the dogs were not in range to use Tasers.

Recognizing traffic was heavy with cars traveling up to 80 mph and the high potential for accidents, with cars swerving to avoid the dogs, officers decided to shoot the dogs within six minutes of arriving on the scene. Each dog was shot once and removed from the roadway, according to the police department.

“That was not a lot of time trying to help the dog. It sounds like to me from reading it, it sounds like they went there with the idea and focus of shooting the dog and not saving the dog,” Natalie Warner said.

Additionally, she said the officers on the scene could have shown more restraint and better-controlled traffic.

“They could have set up some type of barrier to slow down traffic. If hours if necessary, to let rescuers do their job to rescue the dogs,” Warner said.

Resident Sarah Rodriguez, who showed up to show support, said she is worried about the safety of her dogs going forward.

“It is really, really scary to think about my dogs getting out and have to worry about them getting shot. I have two of them. One of them is a big boy. He likes to jump. What is going to happen,” Rodriguez said

At the end of the Saturday evening gathering, the people in attendance told their elected officials that they plan to hold them accountable.

“The sheriff is an elected official, as is the mayor. Speaking for myself, if they do not take action, then the voters eventually will,” Adams said.

Terri Olson added, “They chose to make a decision and take an animal’s life, so I am going to make sure you do not get voted back in or remain a police officer any longer.”

In a press release, the Heyburn Police Department stated a neighboring law enforcement agency will be conducting an independent investigation into the fatal shooting of two dogs on the I-84 over Memorial Day weekend.

Their investigation will determine whether there were any violations of law and if there were any violations of the Heyburn Police Department Policy and Procedures. Upon completion, their findings will be presented to Chief Bertalotto for further action if appropriate and to determine if the officers’ actions were appropriate and/or reasonable in the best possible service to the Heyburn community.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.