The Texas deputy who was fired after shooting a family dog when it rushed to meet him outside a Rains County farmhouse broke down while he spoke to KLTV about the incident.
Former deputy Jerrod Dooley responded to a burglary call on April 18 at Cole Middleton’s farm when he shot 2-year-old blue heeler Candy in the back of the head.
As Middleton approached Dooley, his dashcam recorded their conversation.
"Partner, you're about to be upset, but your dog charged me and I had to shoot him,” Dooley said.
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Middleton can be heard crying out inconsolably.
Dooley defended his actions, but says he understands why Middleton was so upset.
"I tried walking back to the truck; before I could get there the dog made another attempt to come out of the truck," Dooley told KLTV. "She was barking real loudly, ears pinned back, she was coming at me very fast."
"I tried everything I could to get away from her," he said, beginning to cry. "Told her to get back, and she wouldn't get back and I fired two shots."
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Dooley, who claims to be a dog-lover, had been bitten by a dog while on duty years earlier, Gawker reported.
He said Candy leapt out of the back of a truck when he proceeded out of his vehicle. He approached Middleton and said, “Before we start, your dog charged me. I had to shoot it. He got upset, which is understandable. I'd be upset if it were my dog. I love mine like he's my son. I tried to calm him down. It wasn’t working.”
Middleton said Candy wasn’t just a pet, she was his workdog at his dairy.
"I'd say 'Candy! Go this way to the right!'" Middleton told WFAA. "And she'd go gather them to the right. She'd look back at me the whole time like, 'Daddy, what do I need to do?' I could whistle and tell her, 'Go to the left, you forgot one.' And she'd go all the way back."
“I wish I could take his hurt away,” Dooley said through his tears. “I can’t begin to imagine how much it hurts. I hear her yelp every night before I go to bed. There’s probably not a minute that goes by I don’t think about it. I’d give anything to walk up to him hug his neck, try to make the pain go away. I know I’ll never get that chance. I know how much my dog means to me.”
Dooley, a single father, says he and his son have received death threats since the incident made national headlines.
Middleton says he’s beginning to forgive Dooley for his actions. He hopes to use donations the family received from supporters to start a nonprofit to better train officers in how to deal with situations involving animals.