Alabama: Cops Murder Dog During Drug Raid, Owner Fights for Change via Facebook

Posted on July 24, 2012



The murdering of dogs during drug raids unfortunately a common occurrence. But after a 3-year old golden retriever was gunned down during a raid that turned up nothing more than a little bit of marijuana and a bong, the dog’s owner is using Facebook to bring attention to the issue.

On July 20, police in Decatur, AL raided an apartment where three young men were believed to be selling drugs. Upon breaking in, Aubie, a 3-year old golden retriever, barked at the intruding cops, which caused one of the police officers to shoot the dog to death.

The Morgan County sheriff’s office boasted about the raid the next day by saying the raid was conducted on Sherriff Ana Franklin’s birthday. They did not mention killing a dog, but they did brag that they confiscated marijuana, “drug paraphenelia” (usually a used bong), and a handgun (though they did not say if the gun was illegal).

With Aubie dead at the hands of police officers hellbent on confiscating marijuana, a Facebook page has been created to honor the dog and bring attention to the senseless murder. The page reads:

“I was at a friends apartment Wed night and the Morgan County Task Force exicuted a search warrant, in which the took the life of an innocent animal. Poor Aubie was taken from us for supposedly barking at the officers entering the home. The fact is, that the entering officer took one step inside the door and exicuted Aubie with a round of 12 gauge 00 buckshot. No warning, no bean-bag round, one fatal shot to the shoulder area…I ask that you join in support of my friends in righting this wrong-doing. There was no need to take this sweet animals life for others mistakes, and I will NEVER forget what I witnessed. For those of you that did not have the pleasure of meeting Aubie, he was a sweet and timmid Golden Retriever around 3 years of age. Aubie was very loving, and had a strong love for meeting new people and I feel that the assault against him was unjust and uncalled for. If anyone wants to call and complain about poor Aubie’s HORRIBLE death you can. Here’s the number! 256-341-4800”

Several pics of the murder scene, as well as Aubie’s corpse can be seen on the Facebook page. At the time of writing, Justice for Aubie has received 700 likes in just 14 hours. The vast majority of commenters are supportive and outraged by the actions, but a few commenters take the side of the police who they argue have a legitimate right to break into people’s homes looking for marijuana and shoot dogs if they feel “threatened.”

The police, however, are not happy with the bad publicity. Sheriff Franklin addressed the outrage on Facebook directly, claiming the accusations are false and that she will not hesitate to pursue legal action against people defaming her police department. Writing on her Facebook page, according to KTRE, the sheriff said:

“By now you have seen the pictures and read the posts about the dog being shot while the Morgan Co. Drug Task Force was conducting a search warrant for illegal sales/possession of narcotics and marijuana. There is no one that loves animals more than I do. This is a sad and unfortunate incident that I wish could have been avoided. The case is still open and I cant comment on the details, but I can say that the information that has been posted is false and we will seek legal actions about this. These images and posts were sent to inflame the public. The issue at hand should be that the owner of this dog was selling drugs in an apartment complex, where families and children live close by. Our first priority is the safety and security of our deputies, as well as the suspects. When there is a threat and an act of aggression to our officers, we will use the means necessary to stop that threat. I am angered that drug dealers would put their dogs in that position, and I am also angered that they forced us to take these actions. We will continue to do our job in an effort to make Morgan County a better place.”

Alabama residents were not satisfied with Franklin’s attempt to draw attention away from the dog’s murder. In a response representative of many others, Lane Letson wrote on the Moorgan County Sheriff’s Office Facebook wall:

Ana Franklin, we are not satisfied with your response. I’m sorry, that is not going to do it. If you were so engaged with this investigation, you should have known there was dog at the apartment and take proper action. There are many other options than death of an animal. If you mean to tell the public that your Drug Task Force can not handle a barking dog, I do not know how you plan to fight a fight a drug war as the armed and dangerous “drug dealers” as you are alleging. You are sadly ill prepared, as they will do more than bark.

The anger over the Morgan County police actions is good, but sadly unlikely to effect any changes. Dogs get killed in senseless drug raids all the time. A quick Google search of “dogs killed in drug raids” turns up several results, including the following:

Cop Shoots Dog: Untrained Officers Commit ‘Puppycide’

SWAT killed three dogs during Garland drug raid

Mayor’s Dogs Killed in Drug Raid

And here is a video showing a raid in Missouri that shows cops raiding a house and shooting dogs immediately upon entering (GRAPHIC):

What will it take for this to stop? This is beyond better techniques by police officers. These senseless killings, which more and more affect innocent human beings, as well, are a result of the War on Drugs. As long as the government continues to vehemently go after people they believe are breaking the law for having marijuana and as long as police departments continue to have an incentive to go after drug users, these killings will continue to happen, and police will justify it exactly as Sheriff Franklin did: by saying it is an unfortunate but nonetheless necessary effect of their War on Drugs. In writing about drug raids, journalist Radley Balko said:

“Soon enough, our police officers begin to see drug suspects not as American citizens with constitutional rights, but as enemy combatants. Pets, bystanders, and innocents caught in the crossfire can be dismissed as regrettable but inevitable collateral damage, just as we do with collateral damage in actual wars.”

Posted in: Alabama, Crime, Drug War