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May 9, 2014

Dooley indicted on animal cruelty charge

RAINS COUNTY — Former Rains County Deputy Jerrod Dooley, who was fired in mid-April  after shooting Cole Middleton’s family dog, Candy, while responding to a burglary call, has been indicted by a Rains County Grand Jury on a charge of animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is a  state jail felony, which is punishable by confinement in a state jail for up to two years and up to $10,000 in fines.

According to Middleton, his home was broken into the morning of April 18. He called the Rains County Sheriff Department and after several hours, he went to work with his grandfather on the farm. He said Dooley pulled up in his squad car, parking about 10 feet away from where Candy was resting in the back of Middleton’s truck.

She began barking, like all good dogs do when someone strange comes up to the house,” he said. “He shot her point blank in the back of the head, which is what the bullet trajectory shows. The whole time we’re coming up the house, and I’m honking my horn. The officer said he didn’t want to get bit, but she’s not going to attack you. She’s a 30-something-pound herding class of dog.”

The shot did not kill Candy right away, however, and Middleton said he begged Officer Dooley to put Candy out of her misery.

“I begged him, ‘Please, finish her,’” he said. “My guns were stolen; my dog was in unbearable pain; this needs to stop now.”

Middleton said Dooley refused, and then returned to his vehicle and called for backup. According to Middleton, he then had to do the unthinkable and put Candy out of her misery himself. A lengthy interaction between the Middleton family and law enforcement officers ensued. Dooley was fired a few days later.

The story quickly became national news, and support for Middleton grew exponentially, best evidenced by the now 30,000+ strong “Justice for Candy Middleton” Facebook page. Middleton established an account on gofundme.com to raise money to potentially pursue civil charges, the excess of which will be used to promote legislation requiring law enforcement officers to receive animal interaction training. So far, Middleton has raised more than $26,000.

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