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Sheriff's Office, woman trapped in car share side of what happened to killed runaway dog

It's been two weeks since runaway dog, Kingston, was returned to his owner dead in a trash bag. TCSO and a woman who said she was trapped in her car by the dog share their side of what happened.

Posted: Aug 7, 2019 8:07 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2019 8:43 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - It's been two weeks since runaway dog, Kingston, was returned to his owner dead in a trash bag. News 18 has talked to the dog's owner and a couple who said they interacted with the dog in some of his final moments. The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office has released the police report of the incident, and a woman who said she was trapped in her car by the "aggressive" dog are sharing her side of what happened.

The car owner wishes to remain anonymous, but she shared her side of the story via private message on Facebook. She also shared videos of Kingston jumping on her car and barking, and pictures of the damage the dog left on her car.

"What happened to the dog is very sad," she said. "My daughter and I were walking outside when the dog started to walk towards us. Being that he was so big and a stranger to us we got into the car to wait him out. He wouldn’t leave. He started jumping on my car, scratching the sides of the car horribly."

She said she was not the one who called police for help, but phone records show that a call was made to dispatch at 7:18 p.m. Canine Deputy Robert Loop was the first to arrive to the Hawthorne Lakes neighborhood.

"He had just gone on duty and responded directly to the call and arrived within approximately six minutes," said Chief Deputy Terry Ruley with the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office.

In Deputy Loop's report, he said he was told to go in several different directions by neighbors until he saw Kingston jumping on a car on Clydesdale Drive.

"The dog appeared to be trying to gain entry to the vehicle where (the woman) and her young daughter were locked in due to the aggressiveness of the dog. (The woman) and her daughter were noticeably in a state of fear as the dog was trying to enter the vehicle," said his report.

The woman said they then tried to used dog treats and a tennis ball to distract the dog. This is also noted in Deputy Loop's report, however he said that the dog showed no interest in the distractions. He said he then tried to leash the dog, when the dog "growled and snapped" at him. 

That's when Sergeant Jason Freeman arrived on the scene. Sgt. Freeman wrote in his report that, "Deputy Loop and I were running out of options and discussed next steps." He wrote that the dog's actions were clearly not friendly. They decided to use their department issued pepper spray to try and get the dog away. After multiple deployments of the pepper spray, the dog eventually ran away. Sgt. Freeman was able to help get the woman and her daughter safely into their home. He noted in his report that the "yards and streets were full of kids and adults enjoying the evening," and he felt they would need to contain the dog as soon as possible.

The dog then ran to a home on Belgian Lane, which is the next road to the west of Clydesdale Drive. A resident told News 18 previously that she was sitting in her garage when Kingston went to her. Deputy Loop was able to track Kingston to this home. He wrote with the help of the neighbor, he was able to leash the dog when "he turned his head to the woman who was holding him and snapped towards her. I was able to pull the dog away from this woman before he had the chance to bite her."

We talked with that neighbor previously. She said that the dog did not snap at her. Deputy Loop did not have a body camera on him because he was not able to get to the sheriff's office to get his camera before being dispatched.

Deputy Loop wrote that he tightened the leash around the dog's neck in order to help contain it, when the dog began to fight with him. He said the dog bit his right leg, but it didn't break skin or cause a scratch. He said he applied more pressure with the leash, which caused Kingston to lay down in the grass and calm down.

At this point, Sgt. Freeman had called to make sure that Animal Control Officer Seth Kirkendal was coming to take possession of the dog. He asked the neighbor to close her garage door and go inside her home, which she did. Several minutes later Kingston became active again.

"It was almost like a switch went off and the dog went into immediate attack mode," wrote Sgt. Freeman. "I watched as Deputy Loop did the best he could keeping the dog at length with the leash as it jumped, charged, growled and actively tried to bite him." Deputy Loop attempted to use a tree to leverage the dog to, but was unable to do so.

As he watched the struggle continue between Kingston and Deputy Loop, Sgt. Freeman wrote that he was ready to use lethal force. However, given the dogs quick movements and the still active neighborhood, he decided that would not have been the best option. He noted that Kingston was trying to bite through the leash, causing his gums to bleed.

Deputy Loop wrote, "as the dog was fighting, I applied more pressure on his neck at this time restricting the dog's airflow...assisting the dog to the ground with my leash still restricting its airflow." The dog eventually lost consciousness.

This is when ACO Kirkendal arrived, about 20 minutes after he had gotten a call from Sgt. Freeman. It's also when Sgt. Freeman turned on his body camera. You see ACO Kirkendal performing CPR on the dog. Kirkendal wrote in his part of the report that he put his department issued catch pole around the dog's neck and took the slip lead off. 

"I noticed that the dog was warm to the touch but I could not feel a pulse and could not see any signs of breathing," he wrote. After determining the dog was dead, he put the dog in a trash bag, was able to contact the administrator for Lost and Found Pets of Greater Lafayette on Facebook, was able to contact Breanna Poe, Kingston's owner, and brought the dog to her home.

Chief Deputy Ruley and ACO Kirkendal said that Deputy Loop was visibly upset about what had happened. Kirkendal said previously that had he been able to get to the scene sooner, it most likely would have ended differently. 

"My message is everyone that is a pet owner, be responsible and take every precaution to keep your pet on your property," said Chief Deputy Ruley.

The woman who was trapped in the car said via Facebook "I feel terrible for the dog and for the officers involved...I do not feel any sympathy for the owners, this is blood on their hands."

Chief Deputy Ruley said in the next few weeks, the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office Administrators will meet with the responding deputies to go over what happened and see what could have been done differently. He said at this point, he doesn't see any policy or procedure violations in what happened, nor does he think any disciplinary actions will be taken. 

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