Clackamas County, OR -- The story of a Clackamas County deputy shooting a family's beloved pony last month has been picking up steam on the Internet.
When the Fitzgerald family discovered that their pony was missing last month, they began frantically searching.
"We started knocking door-to-door. And the first house we came to, he was laying in their yard,” the pony's owner, Crista Fitzgerald, said.
When they walked up to Gir, they thought the pony was taking a nap, but then discovered the blood coming out of its face.
“We walked up closer, and I bent down to pet him, and that’s when I saw the pool of blood behind his cheek bones,” she recalled. “The neighbor came out and told us she had called the sheriff’s department, and they put him down.”
The police initially claimed that the family's 30-year-old American Miniature Horse was hit by a car, so the deputy was kind and put it out of its misery with his police issued shotgun.
However, according to the family and their veterinarian the horse was in good health when it was killed, and had no broken bones.
Now the Sheriff's office is back peddling.
According to KATU News, Clackamas County Sheriff Office spokesman Sgt. Nathan Thompson stated that the deputy had called the Oregon Humane Society to consider handing over the pony for euthanasia before shooting it in the face and leaving it on the roadside.
After contacting the Oregon Human Society, KATU News discovered that the alleged phone call had never been made.
The deputy did call the vet however and stated that he would “take care of the problem on his own” while turning down the offer from the vet for assistance.
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“If I had gone out and shot the pony I’d be in jail right now,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s cruel.”
“He was part of our family… There’s no way to replace him,” Fitzgerald added.
After the sheriff's office had conducted their "investigation" into the death of the pony, they admitted that the shooting was a mistake.
In a statement released by KOMO News, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts apologized Thursday.
“We made a mistake,” Roberts said in a statement. “Other actions could and should have been taken.”
Roberts' statement continued, “We offer our sincere condolences to the Fitzgerald family. … “We have approached the family about exploring ways to make this as right as we can. And we are examining our own procedures when dealing with this sort of situation in the future.”
However, Adam Fitzgerald and his wife Crista say that they haven’t heard from anyone at the sheriff’s office since Monday night. He said the sheriff’s office has talked to them about making things right, but Adam Fitzgerald said he feels like this "apology" is an attempt to silence them, according to KATU News.
The sheriff's department is basically saying, yes, we killed your pony but don't want to be liable for it, here's a canned apology, now hush it.
The Fitzgerald's are now planning to sue the sheriff’s office, citing discrepancies in the police report. Not only did the initial story not match up, but Adam Fitgerald said the bullet gauge used to shoot the pony was different than the gun the deputy said he used.
Below is the Sheriff Roberts' statement:
I grew up with horses and livestock in Clackamas County, and understand their profound value. We offer our sincere condolences to the Fitzgerald family. As detailed in the report, a judgment call was made in the field to humanely euthanize the animal; ultimately, other actions could and should have been taken. We made a mistake. We have approached the family about exploring ways to make this as right as we can. And we are examining our own procedures when dealing with this sort of situation in the future.
Clackamas County Sheriff
Unfortunately for the family, and their beloved lost pet, it's too little too late.