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GRAPHIC: After video shows officer kicking dog, Ind. police dept. defends action

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 2:36 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 2:53 PM EST
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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WISH) – Police in western Indiana are pushing back against criticism over how an officer treated a dog.

The pet’s owner posted surveillance video to social media that shows the officer kicking the animal.

Terre Haute police said body camera video reveals what led up to that moment.

GRAPHIC WARNING: The video could be disturbing to some viewers.

Haley Richey, the dog’s owner, posted 20 seconds of video on Twitter. At two seconds in, the officer can be seen approaching the house with a flashlight as the dog barks.

Five seconds later, the officer kicks the dog repeatedly before it runs off the porch.

On Tuesday, Richey posted on her Twitter page that: “Yesterday evening while my family and I were at work, someone broke into my home. My dogs ran the intruder off. This was the response shortly after a neighbor called.”

After thousands of online comments, the Terre Haute Police Department posted its own video from the officer’s body camera on their Facebook page, along with a response to Richey’s claims.

Terre Haute police said they were called around 7 p.m. Monday to the home for an aggressive white pit bull that had been charging at everyone that went by, not for an attempted break-in to the home.

The neighbor who called police told them the dog had bitten a child and a mailman in the past.

A few seconds into the officer’s bodycam video, the officer shines a flashlight toward two dogs, which are seen lunging at the officer as he’s trying to make his way to the neighbor’s house. The dogs eventually leave the yard.

The officer then heads toward Richey’s home, where he is met by one of the dogs. The officer approaches the dog and starts kicking.

Richey posted on social media that her family spent hours looking for the dog after it ran away.

They called police just after 11 p.m. Monday to report that someone may have been in the house and let the dogs out earlier.

Police found nothing missing or video showing an intruder.

The dog that was kicked returned to the home early Tuesday.

Police wrote the dog’s owner tickets for counts of prohibited dangerous animals and not having the dogs restrained or immunized.

Police said that in May of last year, a white pit bull at the same address bit an 11-year-old girl, and the owner was ticketed then for failure to restrain a dog resulting in an attack or a bite.

Police said they contacted Richey’s family several times after the video was posted, asking if they were interested in filing a complaint. They have declined to do so.

The Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office said the officer did not commit a crime, saying the state’s animal abuse law has an exception for self-defense.

The office said the dog was aggressive, and the officer had a right to protect himself from it.

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