Cole Middleton, who lives in rural Rains County in East Texas, dialed 911 after arriving at home last Friday morning to discover his home had been burglarized. It looked to Middleton like someone had broken in and stolen an iPad, jewelry and firearms.
A deputy arrived a while later. Middleton had joined his dad in a field to do some farm work while he waited for the sheriff’s office to respond, and, from a distance, he saw the car pull up.
According to what Middleton told KLTV News, his dog Candy – an animal that, judging from posted photos, looks like an Australian cattle dog – was in the yard when the deputy arrived. Middleton had trained her to herd cattle, and described her as a “natural” when it came to farm work. Candy was barking, as dogs tend to do in unfamiliar or exciting situations, but wasn’t acting aggressively toward the officer.
“She’s barking when he pulls into the driveway letting me know someone’s at our house, an intruder is here, or a person who she would think was an intruder that she’s unfamiliar with,” said Middleton. “She’s barking. The officer gets out of his car, and all the while we’re headed up [there]. He gets out of his car and shoots my dog in my front yard.”
Just like that, according to Middleton – without hesitation, and without cause to believe the dog posed any imminent physical danger.
Candy was wounded in the head and was in obvious distress, but the shot did not immediately kill her.
Blindsided by a completely new, abhorrent set of circumstances, Middleton’s immediate concern now was ending Candy’s suffering.
“I was so upset,” he told KLTV. “I went over there to her and she was still alive and I begged and pleaded with him to please shoot her again because I don’t have any firearms. They got stolen. He went and got in his vehicle and backed out of my driveway.”
So much for investigating the burglary – at least for that officer, whose name had not been released late Wednesday.
Left without guns, Middleton told the reporter he steeled himself to do something to end his dog’s suffering that he could never have imagined.
“I had to do the unthinkable, the otherwise unthinkable. I had to kill my dog with my bare hands and put her out of her suffering, praying for this to be over with,” he said.
At some point not long after he’d done that, other officers showed up. They saw blood on Middleton’s shirt and immediately had questions about it. Middleton said it raised their suspicions enough for them to unholster their weapons.
“That is the blood of my dog that I was holding because this deputy pulled up and shot her in my yard,” he explained. “Then the tasers were put away and the pistols withdrawn.”
Sheriff David Traylor said the Texas Rangers are investigating the incident.
Visit KLTV for more, including updates and a video of the April 21 televised report.