A internal investigation has been launched into the shooting death of “Patches,” a Jack Russell Terrior mix, by an officer of the Georgia Department of Corrections. Patches’ owner said she doesn’t know what she wants to happen, only that she “questions the judgment of the officer.” (Special photo)
ALBANY — A recent incident in which “Patches,” a 12-pound Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix was shot to death by an officer of the Georgia Department of Corrections will be investigated, say GDC officials.
On October 7, Antoine Jones, an officer with the GDC was on a routine visit to the home of Albany resident Cherrie Shelton to speak with her son, who is on probation. When her son started to leave their mobile home to interview with Jones, Patches came too, Cherrie Shelton said, yipping and barking at Jones. In a police report filed later that day, Jones would say he felt threatened and so gave the dog several verbal commands to get away. Patches didn’t respond, Jones stated, and so Jones shot her.
“(Jones) had been over several times,” Cherrie Shelton said. He knew my dog. My son has always told him Patches wouldn’t bite. What makes it different this time?”
Patches ran to a secluded place, Cherrie Shelton said, only to die about half an hour later. She said Jones went inside his car and waited while an officer who’d come with him called their supervisor, Kimberly Persley, with the GDC. The Albany Police Department was also called, as well as the Humane Society.
Patches was still alive at that time, Cherrie Shelton said, and she was urged to take Patches to a veterinarian. But Shelton is on a fixed income, she says, and had neither reliable transportation nor the $35 deposit one vet said he required. The Humane Society representative found a vet who would not require a deposit, but by that time Patches had died, Shelton said.
A police report was filed but, according to Cherrie Shelton, the responding officer told her family that “nothing else could be done” and the police department had to remain “neutral.”
Officials of the GDC ruled in favor of Jones, deeming his actions “appropriate” under the circumstances. Now the incident will be probed more deeply by GDC Internal Affairs. Shelton believes that GDC decision came about because of the media attention generated by the incident.
“I think if I’d just left it alone like everything was fine, I would have just been a person with a shot dog and that would have been it,” Shelton said.”
While Shelton claims to feel no real animosity, she thinks someone ought to be held responsible for what she feels was the unnecessary shooting of her dog.
“I don’t really know,” Shelton said. “I don’t want (Jones) to lose his job or cause hardship for him, but he’s caused hardship to me, just by reacting the way he did. He’s in the capacity to carry a weapon and I’m thinking that what if I would have run down my steps after he shot Patches, not to hurt him but running to my dog. He could have shot me. I question his judgment. I’m way bigger than my dog so he might have thought he needed to shoot me too.”
Friendly neighbors have offered to give Shelton another dog, but she’s not ready yet.
“It’s too soon,” she said.