HEYBURN — An officer who shot two dogs running loose on an Idaho Highway last weekend has been placed on administrative leave, pending an independent investigation.
In a news release Thursday afternoon, the Heyburn Police Department says “a neighboring law enforcement agency will be conducting an independent investigation” into the May 27 shooting.
“Their investigation will determine whether there were any violations of law and if there were any violations of the Heyburn Police Department policy and procedures,” the news release says.
Just before 6 p.m. Saturday, police found two large dogs running loose on Interstate 84. Traffic was at a standstill near exit 211, and police said it was causing a safety hazard.
Dogs were not responding to officer’s whistles, calls and shouts, according to the department’s initial release. The dogs were alleged to have not been close enough for officers to use a Taser. Officers made the decision to shoot the dogs at 6:03 p.m. because of the “great potential of a rear end collision.”
Stephanie Carsner posted a widely shared video on Facebook detailing what happened seconds before the shooting. She claims to work for an animal shelter, and said in her post that Idaho State Police had given her permission to come and rescue the dogs. She and her husband arrived on scene and “almost had the dogs in hand” when an officer approached and instructed them to leave.
The day after the shooting, the dog’s owner, Ashley Price, provided some additional context about the situation in a Facebook post.
She begins by expressing gratitude for those who tried to keep the dogs safe. She’s relieved that no traffic accidents occurred.
“We just want to make a few things clear. We were out of town and our fur babies were being taken care of by relatives. We love them and they were very well taken care of. We … have a fenced in back yard,” she writes. “We checked our cameras at 5pm before we headed to dinner and Boomer (pyranese) and Luna (Weimaraner) were both still in their kennel.”
Somehow, the dogs got out and had “reached a neighbor’s house by 5:35 p.m.” The dogs were shot less than 30 minutes later after police had arrived and assessed the situation, she says.
“These are the only facts we have at this time and have been in communication with the Police chief and will go in tomorrow to view their videos from dash and body cameras. Until then, please be kind and respect our family at this difficult time, we are mourning,” Price writes on Facebook.
She’s asking anyone with video or pictures of the alleged rescue attempt to send them to her in a private message.
She’s since added an update to the post saying that her family is “NOT affiliated with any Go Fund me accounts that have surfaced.”
Once the investigation is complete, police say the findings will be presented to the police chief, who will “determine if the officers’ actions were appropriate and/or reasonable” and whether any further action is needed.
“Our relationship with our community is our top priority. We are committed to resolving this issue quickly and providing the results and conclusions to our community with full transparency,” the department says in the news release.