Sheriff's Department releases statement on 'botched euthanizatio - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Sheriff's Department releases statement on 'botched euthanization' involving animal control officer

FAYETTEVILLE  (WVVA) - The Fayette County Sheriff's Department has released an official statement regarding an incident in which the county's animal control officer shot a dog multiple times in what is described as a 'botched euthanization.'

The dog in question was to be euthanized after attacking a child in the Oak Hill area on Tuesday March 11, resulting in injuries to the child's legs.

The following day, when the county's only employee licensed to conduct euthanizations was not immediately available, Animal Control Officer Russell Parker made the decision to euthanize the dog by shooting it, then removing its head to be sent for rabies testing.

A release from the Fayette County Sheriff's Department says Parker spoke with officials about the need to quickly euthanize the dog and proceed with rabies testing to avoid unnecessary rabies treatment for the injured child.

On Thursday, March 13, the director of the Fayette County Animal Control Center -- where the dog was being held -- filed a complaint concerning the manner in which the euthanization was handled.

The complaint stated the dog had to be shot multiple times in order to be killed.

Carrie Carr, director of the Animal Control Center, said in the complaint that the owner of the dog had paid the veterinarian hospital to humanely euthanize the animal.

An investigation has been conducted into the incident. As a result, Parker received disciplinary action from the sheriff. The details were not disclosed, only that Parker remains employed with the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Steve Kessler said in the release that steps are now in place to "insure that nothing remotely like this occurs in the future."

"I regret that this incident occurred," Kessler said. "I certainly care for animals, but I consider the health and safety of the human citizens of Fayette County to by more important."

"Animal Control Officer Parker was acting in what he believed to be the best interests of the child," the release concludes.
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