Conway, AR — A graphic video was taken in January which showed a Faulkner County Sheriff's Office deputy shooting a 9-pound Chihuahua simply because the dog's owner refused to walk to the road to speak to him. Immediately after the shooting, the department responded by saying no policies were violated. However, after further investigation, the officer was quietly charged several months later and it barely registered in the media at all.
The officer in the video was deputy Keenan Wallace. He was formerly charged with cruelty to animals in April and pleaded not guilty to the charges last month. He is now due in court on July 8 for a pretrial hearing. If he's convicted, he faces up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
As TFTP reported at the time, the incident happened on Jan. 4 when Wallace responded to a 911 call from a woman who made a complaint that the tiny dog chased after her. In the video, Wallace asks Canady to come to the road to talk to him and Canady replies that he will not. That's when Wallace threatened to kill his dog "Reese's."
Canady refuses to come to the road once more and Wallace immediately draws his pistol and shoots the 9-pound dog.
After shooting the tiny dog, Wallace draws his taser and chases down Canady as the dog yelps in agony. Clearly, Wallace is no longer afraid of approaching Canady at this point and proceeds to detain the innocent man without reason or probable cause. Indeed, the only person who'd committed a violation was the deputy himself.
In the incident report, Wallace said he was 3 feet from the dog when it reportedly “lunged” toward him, adding that when the dog “lunged,” he pulled out his gun “and fired one round into the animal ... striking it and stoppingthe threat.”
As another deputy shows up, the video ends as Canady is noting that he will not let this shooting go unanswered.
According to NEA report, the sheriff's department was called by a unknown woman who allegedly claimed that the tiny 9-pound dog was being aggressive toward her. Canady told NEA report that he's never seen this woman in his neighborhood before but she was apparently walking by his house when Reese's and a group of other tiny dogs barked at her.
According to the report, the woman pulled out a gun of her own as the dogs barked and pointed it in the direction of his home. After the dog's barked at her, the woman called 911 and that's where the video picked up.
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Canady who is an emergency helicopter pilot, who spent 21 years in the military flying black hawks says he's had negative experiences with the Faulkner county sheriff's department which is why he chose to avoid the confrontation with Wallace. As the video below shows, he was right to do so as it could've been him that was shot.
Luckily and near miraculously, the dog survived the shot and donations poured in to help with his surgeries.
As C.J. Cirarmella noted, "to the extent that the dog posed any threat to the sheriff's deputy, there was no attempt, at least in the video, to resolve the situation with anything other than lethal force. The deputy didn't ask Canady to restrain the dog. He didn't attempt to use a less-than-lethal alternative, like the taser he was armed with and which he subsequently drew on Canady. He simply pulled his gun and shot to kill."
After being bombarded with phone calls from angry residents at the time, the sheriff's department responded to the shooting by firing Wallace. However, they were quick to point out that "no policies were violated."
Sheriff Tim Ryals responded with the following statement:
Since taking office in 2017, I have been an advocate of integrity, professionalism and transparency. I hold my Deputies to the highest of standards to protect and serve the residents of our community. Unfortunately, a Deputy fell short to those standards.
I was notified Friday of an incident involving Deputy Keenan Wallace. Deputy Wallace fired his service weapon that injured an animal while in close proximity to a citizen. I believe there were numerous opportunities to de-escalate the incident.
Over the last 24 hours, at my request, Faulkner County Investigators have been working diligently to investigate whether Deputy Wallace violated any state law or our agency’s policies and procedures. While it appears no policies or laws were violated, I hold every employee within our agency to the highest of standards and will be forwarding the investigation to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further review.
As a result of the incident that occurred on January 4, 2019, in the Shiloh Estates Subdivision, Deputy Keenan Wallace has been relieved of his duties at the Faulkner County Sheriff’ Office.
TFTP applauds the sheriff for taking action despite no policies being violated. One would think that shooting a tiny dog who is absolutely no threat, however, would be a policy violation. Luckily, months after he was fired, someone came to their senses and charged him with animal cruelty.
Wallace has a history of shooting too, as he was put on administrative leave in 2017 after he shot at an unarmed man for attempting to flee in a vehicle. The department found, as they did this time, that he violated no policies.