December 9, 2007
What a terrible abuse of power. The dog looks like some sort of pit bull mix to me; I wonder if that had anything to do with this rushed judge-jury-executioner attack by the cop. This was done in front of a school bus off-loading.
EXCLUSIVE: Family Shocked, Outraged after Deputy Shoots Pet Dog in their Yard
Family Suing County
Story Published: Nov 20, 2007 at 10:00 PM MST
Story Updated: Nov 22, 2007 at 12:34 AM MST
A Teton County, Idaho family is outraged after they say a sheriff's deputy tried to murder their dog in their own front yard.
The Barboza family has owned their dog Bobby for five years. A few days ago they say a Teton County Idaho Sheriff's Deputy knocked on their door demanding to see the dog.
Leonel Barboza, Dog Owner: "He says, 'I'm here to put him down. I'm here to kill him.'"
The officer told Leo Barboza there had been a complaint Bobby had bitten someone.
Barboza: "I said, 'Do you have any proof or anything?' He says, 'I don't need any proof.'"
So Leo got the dog while the deputy pulled out a rifle from his car. They walked a few feet from the Barboza's home where Leo's wife and his three year old son were inside.
Leo and the officer tied the dog to a pole when the deputy fired three shots. The dog then collapsed. Leo's son heard the gunshots and opened the front door. Meanwhile...
Barboza: "A bunch of kids just got off the bus and they were all on the street. All the kids were watching the officer shooting the dog. My heart was broken seeing an officer killing my dog."
The deputy then got in his vehicle and drove away leaving the dog bleeding profusely from his head almost dead.
Barboza: "I came back inside with my wife and hid. We were hugging each other crying about our dog because we were gonna miss him. He's been with us for five years."
That night Leo's father-in-law, who witnessed the whole thing, had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized. When the family returned home from the hospital a few days later, they were shocked to see their dog alive.
Barboza: "My wife called me up and she's like, 'Hey, the dog's alive!' I was like, 'What are you serious?' I was happy my dog was alive."
The Teton County Idaho Sheriff wouldn't say much about this case except that it's still under investigation. He also said there's been numerous complaints about the Barboza's dog. But when I checked court records, I could only find one complaint filed last year and that was dismissed.
Nate Eaton, Channel 3 Eyewitness News: "Did your dog ever bite anybody?"
Barboza: "Not to my knowledge. No."
Eaton: "And this was the first time you'd ever heard of any complaint?"
Barboza: "Yes, this is the first time. I still think about it. You know my kid thinks all the cops are bad because an officer came and shot his dog. Honestly when I think about it I get mad too and I don't trust that officer any more."
The Barboza's took Bobby to the vet. He's now on medication to get the wounds taken care of. The holes in his head will be sewn up after Thanksgiving.
The family has hired attorney Josh Garner. I spoke with him this evening and he says, "If the facts are as they appear, the deputies behavior is disgusting, troublesome, and appalling. The officer needs to be held responsible."
Several sources say the officer is still on duty and still working in the county.