We all were shocked to hear over two weeks ago about Bear-Bear, a husky, which was shot and killed at the local dog park in Ann Arundel County. Rachel Rettaliata, Bear-Bear’s owner, asked her brother, Steven, to take him to the park at that time and he was enjoying the dog park just as he had done every other day. A man by the name of Keith Shepherd brought his German shepherd and his wife to the park as well that day. Mr. Shepherd did not allow his dog off the leash and Bear-Bear approached. The dogs were playing fine and then Mr. Shepherd thought Bear-Bear was getting too rough and called out to Steven to get him. Apparently Mr. Shepherd felt his dog was in danger and decided not to wait for Steven to get Bear-Bear so he pulled out his personal gun and shot Bear-Bear. Mr. Shepherd is a police officer and has the right to carry a weapon off duty.
This needless act was an act that should have never happened. Bear-Bear was known throughout the community of Anne Arundel County. The other people that take their dog to the private Quail Run dog park have never had any issue with Bear-Bear and had no idea where this was coming from. Once Steven got to Bear-Bear where he had laid down, he noticed he was not doing well. He was rushed to the veterinary office where after the start of the emergency surgery, it was determined that he would not make it. The veterinarian then gave Bear-Bear a humane way to go, he euthanized him to end his pain and suffering. This matter should have been handled differently. There were so many questions floating throughout the community like: Why did he not try to hit the dog? Why did he not wait for the dogs’ owner? What would make a man pull out a gun in a public place and shoot a dog?
The police department did not feel at the time there was any crime committed and did not proceed with an investigation. The community got involved and spread the news through the news media and social networking to get more people involved. With the outcry from the public on this matter and with the John R. Leopold, Anne Arundel County Executive, this case was given its investigation for Bear-Bear. John R. Leopold stated that an investigation should be done and it was the right thing to do. The HSUS also got involved with the case to offer their expertise with animal abuse investigations. Justin Scally, with the HSUS, wanted to make sure all the facts were looked at and to make sure this was handled as an animal abuse case.
Wednesday afternoon, Keith Shepherd was officially charged with two charges, one for animal cruelty and the other for firearms. The animal cruelty charge, if convicted, is punishable to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. The firearm charge for discharging a firearm within 100 feet of a residence, if convicted, is punishable to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. Keith Shepherd is currently on paid administrative leave from his job and will remain there until this case is closed. “The Humane Society of the United States is pleased with the thorough investigation performed by Anne Arundel County law enforcement and the State’s Attorneys’ Office into Bear-Bear’s death,” said Justin L. Scally of The HSUS. “These charges demonstrate that gratuitous violence against animals will be prosecuted in Anne Arundel County.” In a recent press release from the HSUS they expressed a special thanks to Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank Weathersbee, to the Assistant State’s Attorney Kim DiPietro and to Anne Arundel County Police Chief Col. James Teare Sr.
Arthur Plummer, president of the Quail Run Recreational Association, is going to try and make the dog park safer by implementing improvements to the dog park. He is open to ideas and suggestions from the local community. The HSUS has already been in contact with the community leaders to see how they can help them make the park a safer place for the dogs as well as the people in the future. They have care and concerns for the patrons of the park as well. They not only campaign for the animals and help with investigations; they also get proactive in communities that need their help to make places better for animals.
For a slide show of pictures of Bear-Bear
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