Conscience and empathy are virtues that are essential prerequisites for humanity, without which questionable acts that shake the foundations of society surface.
People reported a case that has been deemed as ‘unconscionable’ by a lawsuit, where deputy Roger Seal picked up Parker, a 9-year-old black Labrador mix. He allegedly drove him to the Otter Slough Conservation Area and shot him with his service pistol at the direction of his supervising officer, Corporal Travis Maddox.
Gathered via People, the incident went like this. During a summer storm, Parker ambled onto Hillary Mayberry’s property when a Missouri woman was trying to find the owner of Parker. She called the Stoddard County Sheriff’s Office after posting pictures of Parker lying on her porch on Facebook, captioning it, “Does anyone recognize this dog?”
However, when the police pulled up, the aforementioned shooting incident took place that shook the core of Mayberry and the local community. Bryan and Tylla Pennington and their four children, who are the family members of Parker, had responded only half an hour later to the Facebook post, but the bullet had already left the gun and got Parker by then, per People’s reports.
According to the lawsuit filed by the aggrieved family, wounded Parker did not immediately succumb to the gunshot, and over the next “agonizing eight minutes of suffering,” the suit alleges that Parker withstood Seal dragging him across the dirt. Then, Seal shot him again and discarded “Parker’s lifeless body in a ditch.”
The family filed a lawsuit against Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner, where they allege that the officers violated the family’s First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they unlawfully seized and killed Parker. Oliver told People in a statement, “The point of the lawsuit is to make sure that people that we have invested with the power to enforce our laws aren’t breaking those laws by taking a family’s dog, executing it, throwing its body in a ditch — and using taxpayer dollars to do it.” To this account, the lawsuit for the case is requesting a jury trial and seeking $5 million in damages.
To this, the alleged Sheriff’s department issued a letter to the Facebook account in September. Heffner said, “the deputy who responded to this call did not act appropriately during the performance of his duties.” According to the letter, he fired Seal, demoted the supervising corporal, and placed him on unpaid administrative leave. However, Oliver did not succumb to this and said that this was not an isolated event and that the shooting of lost dogs had become “common practice” at the office.
Oliver has also separately issued a sunshine lawsuit to obtain “body camera footage of the murder of Parker” from the sheriff’s office, as obtained in a statement by People. Oliver updated this case, saying that under the pretense of an excuse that the Missouri State Highway Patrol is still conducting an investigation on the matter, they have not turned over the tape yet.
Oliver then proceeds to continue his statement to People, saying that no criminal charges have been filed against the deputies, “This situation exemplifies so much of my frustrations while I served as prosecutor in regard to the conduct of law enforcement, particularly the Stoddard County Sheriff’s Office. This attitude — of arrogance and hubris, of acting with impunity and doing what they want — is now on steroids. Oliver served as the elected prosecutor of Stoddard County for 12 years until 2022.