Miami County mother, others pushing for change - KCTV5

Miami County mother, others pushing for change after deputy shoots injured dog

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A Miami County mother is speaking out about how a sheriff deputy shot an injured dog with her children in a nearby car.

KCTV5's Jeanene Kiesling looked at the sheriff's policy and talks with some dog lovers who are fighting to get the policy changed.

"It's been upsetting. My son talks about it a lot," Ashley Ralston said.

It's something Ralston has re-lived over and over in her mind. Last week she was driving in rural Miami County with her 9-year-old son. They saw a dog on the side of the road and another dog in the middle of the road that had obviously been hit by a car.

"I saw he had a collar on so we figured we would check it out," she said.

As Ralston was checking the uninjured dog, a Miami County sheriff's deputy pulled up. Ralston thought the other dog was dead but, when the deputy checked on it, he realized it wasn't.

"He advised me to get my son into the car because he was going to have to put it down," she said.

Ralston did as the deputy told her and, just like that, the deputy pulled his gun off his hip and shot the dog in the head. When he walked back to Ralston she said she asked him, ‘what now?' The deputy reportedly told her the road crew would eventually pickup the dog and haul it off.

As for the other dog, the deputy told her Miami County doesn't have a leash law so he couldn't do anything about it. Ralston said she called her boyfriend who picked up the living dog and took it to Kerry's Kennel. There Kerry Gast learned of what just happened.

"We were extremely disappointed with the process. I was horrified to hear he killed a dog in front of a citizen, especially one with children in the car. I was saddened," Gast said.

Gast and her daughter, Kate Fife, took to the internet and started an online petition in hopes of getting the Miami County Sheriff's Office to change its policy on injured and abandoned animals. Currently the policy says it's up to the officers' discretion, but state law requires "humane" killing and the American Veterinary Medical Association says "gunshot is not recommended as a routine approach to euthanasia."

"We just want to change the policy. We don't want the dog shot on the side of the road and we definitely don't want the dog left to be picked up like trash and taken to the dump," Gast said.

Neither Gast nor Ralston blame the deputy and point to the policy.

Undersheriff Wayne Minckley said the deputy was doing what he thought was the most humane option for the wounded animal and said what happened is extremely rare. He also said he agrees it's time to revisit the old policy and come up with a new policy and he welcomes the help.

"It's horrible that it happened and it's a little bittersweet but, if a lot comes from it, that will be good," Ralston said.

Gast hopes to get a panel together to come up with a new policy and present it to Miami commissioners very soon.

Click here to view the online petition.

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