Former Rains Co. deputy indicted for shooting family dog

Former Rains Co. deputy indicted for shooting family dog

A former deputy who shot an East Texas family's dog is indicted on a felony charge of animal cruelty.

Former Rains County Deputy Jerrod Dooley was responding to a burglary at the Middleton home in Point on April 18 when it happened. A necropsy report shows the dog, Candy, was shot in the back of the head while she was retreating.

Dooley was terminated a few days after the shooting.

It's a story that has made international headlines -- with people across the globe speaking out either for animal rights, or in favor of the deputy, who many people say was simply protecting himself. But for Candy's owner, this charge is just a small step toward justice for his best friend.
"She was unbelievable. That's the only word to describe her," Cole Middleton said. "She was going to be three in June, and as a young dog, she had learned in her short life what a lot of dogs don't learn their whole life." 

Friday, the Rains County Deputy Attorney's Office filed animal cruelty charges against Dooley for Candy's death.

"I've just been hoping for justice to be served, and regardless of whether he is an officer, I just think if someone acts in a criminal manner that they should face charges," Middleton said.

In cell phone video shot by Middleton right after the shooting, Dooley can be heard saying that he thought Candy might bite him.

"He's upset about what happened," Dooley's attorney Pete Schulte said. "He loves dogs too -- he has one of his own. He did not want to have to do this, but his decision at that point was, this dog was a threat to him."

Middleton says, though, that Candy wasn't aggressive at all, and that her only crime was barking.

"She never bit anybody," he said. "Would she bark in her yard? Yes. If that's a crime that deserves her being shot in her yard when her owner has done nothing wrong, then we have problems." 

Schulte argues that since Middleton actually ended Candy's life himself following the shooting -- to put her out of her misery, as he said -- there's no way of knowing if she actually could have been saved.

"We don't know if the shot would have killed him, or if it was the action's of the owner -- which is completely justifiable," Schulte said. "I'm not trying to say that it wasn't within his right to do that, but when it comes to doing a legal analysis of an event that causes death, that has to be taken into account."

Middleton, who admits to drowning Candy in a bucket after the shooting, says he didn't want to see his beloved dog suffer.

"I did what I had to do," he said. "I can assure you if I had thought that there was any chance of saving Candy, I would have tried to save Candy." 

Schulte calls the indictment a a "political knee-jerk reaction" by the Rains County District Attorney, and says he doesn't think it will hold up in court.  

"Now we have to wait and waste the resources and the tax dollars of the people of Rains County for a case that's ultimately not going to go anywhere," he said.

According to the Rains County District Clerk's Office, no arrest warrant has been issued for Dooley and no trial date has been set. Schulte says his client is ready to turn himself in when that happens, but in the meantime, he will be filing a motion to quash the indictment and a motion to dismiss the case.

If convicted, Dooley faces up to two years in prison.

The Middleton family's Facebook page, Justice for Candy Middleton, has garnered support from more than 32,000 people.  



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