I have been struggling to find the best way to write this for some time now. I was afraid of getting caught up in the emotion of it all but for me there is no other way. It is, after all, what it is-emotional.
For me this story is hard to tell, not because the facts are hard to find but because they are hard to swallow.
Here are the facts as we know them . On the morning of July 8, Jason Jacobs and his wife, Angie Jarvis, left their rural Minnesota home to go into town. Behind they left their boxer mix and beloved companion Rugar.
Unbeknownst to the family, at that very moment, St. Louis County Sherriff’s Deputy Chris Cazin was preparing to serve a non-time sensitive notice of a court order to pay a medical bill. Notice that I say “non time sensitive”. Why? Later in this story the reason will become painfully clear.
While the family was away Deputy Cazin pulled his vehicle to the end of the home’s long driveway. When he parked, his car was approached by both dogs.
Deputy Cazin chose to exit his vehicle rather than leave or call animal control to contain the dogs. According to the deputy, he was afraid of Rugar and fired his taser into the air. When Rugar did not retreat in fear, the deputy made a choice to fire a bullet into Rugar. It was a choice that forever changed the life of Jason and Angie.
Afterwards, Cazin walked to the door of the home, placed the notice and left the property.
When Jason and Angie returned home, they found that their beloved companion of seven years bleeding, suffering in severe pain and left to die alone. All for a non-time sensitive document.
This tragedy was completely preventable. As I said before,this document was not time sensitive. The officer could have returned when the family was home, he could have waited in the driveway for them to return, or he could have called animal control.
As you can imagine, Rugar’s story has sparked a firestorm of reaction among people.
Barbara Clear Hinsz is a member of the ‘Justice For Rugar’ facebook page. It is a page born out of pure need, not only for Rugar’s family but the community as well. Their goal is to get out as much information about this incident and others like it to as many people as possible and to be a tribute to a wonderful dog. Barbara and the others have worked tirelessly doing just that.
One thing that can come from this terrible tragedy and ones like it is better officer training when it comes to handling dogs in a non-lethal manner. Better training just makes sense. So many of us have dogs and officers will come into contact with them. Shouldn’t they be prepared? Shouldn’t they know there are alternatives to shooting family pets?
Yes, I struggled to write this. Sometimes the hardest things to talk about are the most important. Sometimes talking about them opens a dialog alongside the pain and hopefully that very dialog can prevent things like this from happening to others and spare them this agony. This, at least, is my hope. Goodnight Rugar.
Photo Courtesy of ‘Justice For Rugar’
My thanks to
Barbara Clear Hinsz and Angel Davis
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