Officer charged with killing dog set out to ‘gut’ it, witnesses said

Photo Courtesy Sarah Gossard

A Baltimore police officer is facing felony animal cruelty charges after slitting the throat of a dog officers had under control, according to the department.

Sarah Gossard, the dog’s owner, said she let the dog outside without realizing the gate was open.  The 7-year-old Shar-Pei named Nala was later found by a woman that tried to check the animal’s tag.  She was nipped by the dog and suffered a superficial wound.

Officers from the Southeastern District arrived and corralled the dog while summoning police Emergency Services officers, who carry the long dog-control poles that can safely lasso stray dogs.

Witnesses at the scene told police that the officer, identified as Jeffrey Bolger, 49, was talking about killing the animal as he got out of his vehicle.

“I’m going to [expletive] gut this thing,” witnesses heard him say, according to the charging document.

Police Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere called the killing “outrageous and unacceptable” and said internal affairs is investigating the incident, which took place Saturday morning in Brewers Hill.

Baltimore City Councilman Robert W. Curran, council liaison to the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, said there was no reason to have killed the dog if it was restrained with a dog-control pole, as police say it was.

It’s pretty astounding that our public safety officers would ever have done this,” Curran said. “If you’re on the pole, usually, you’re pretty much at bay, you’re not a threat.”

Officer Bolger was booked Wednesday and released on his own recognizance. He faces charges of animal cruelty, aggravated animal cruelty and malfeasance in office. Bolger’s attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.

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