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Dog shot by deputy is recovering

F.T. Norton

A Carson City man whose dog was shot and injured by a deputy Tuesday night during the service of a protection order said he doesn’t care what the outcome of the investigation reveals, the situation could have been avoided.

“Why did they park so far down the street and rush up at me in the dark?” asked Richard Werts.

According to Sheriff Kenny Furlong, on Tuesday a deputy went to serve Werts a protection order issued by his neighbor following a dispute over loud music last weekend.

As is department protocol, said Furlong, the officer parked two houses from Werts’ to survey the property prior to knocking.

“The sheriff’s deputy assigned to serve the restraining order approached the residence at approximately 9:10 p.m. when Mr. Werts’ dog charged toward the approaching officer in the street,” said Furlong in a statement. “During the service process, Mr. Werts’ dog was shot by the deputy.”

Werts said he was talking to his mother on the phone while he and his Irish wolfhound-Labrador mix dog, Irely, were sitting outside his Sneddon Way home after going for a walk.

When a figure with a flashlight appeared in the street, Irely jumped up and ran at the sound.

“I saw her sniffing around near the fence and got up to get her, and that’s when I saw the flashlight,” he said. “I was calling her when I heard a gunshot and saw the dirt fly.”

Werts’ mother heard the incident over the phone.

“As we were speaking, I hear him say, ‘No, Irely!’ and bam! He said, ‘Mom, they just tried to kill my dog,’ and he hung up,” Ruth Werts said.

Irely ran back to Werts with her tail between her legs, and he put her inside the gate.

“I said to the cop, ‘Are those real bullets?'” he recalled, explaining when he saw the dirt fly he thought the officer had missed.

But she said to him, “I think I shot your dog.”

The dispatch logs indicate at 9:21 p.m. the officer said, “Dog ran at me, and I shot at it.”

Werts said that after he was served with the order and the police said he was free to go, he found Irely bleeding on the porch. His mother arrived, and the two loaded Irely into her car.

They said when they arrived at Carson-Tahoe Veterinary Hospital, they were denied service because they had no money.

Then, the sheriff’s department stepped in and said it would pay the bill.

“People want to know why I am paying the bill, and I am paying it because it’s the right thing to do,” Furlong said. “The vet was not going to treat that dog without the money.”

Detective Bob White noted, however, that the agreement to pay does not indicate the sheriff’s department is accepting liability for what happened.

If the investigation determines that Werts did not have control over Irely, he could be cited and be responsible for repaying the sheriff’s department, Furlong said.

Werts contends Irely was shot standing in the dirt on his property. Police investigators believe Irely was shot standing in the street.

Blood could not be found on the street or in the dirt on Wednesday morning. If the investigation reveals the deputy is at fault, she could be subject to disciplinary action.

Neighbors’ opinions of the 130-pound dog were mixed, said Detective Dave Legros. The neighbor who got the restraining order described Irely as “vicious,” he said, while another neighbor said her small children play with the dog.

Furlong said the deputy remains on duty, since administrative leave is applied only when a deadly force investigation pertains to humans and not animals.

Werts said he is just glad Irely is alive.

“However it comes out, I don’t care, as long as my dog is OK,” he said.

On that point, Furlong agreed.

“The dog is alive, and I’m happy about that,” he said.

— Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or (775) 881-1213.


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