New Castle dog killing raises hackles
Post Independent Staff
A New Castle police patrolman shot and killed a resident’s dog Oct. 15, and the cop’s supervisor no longer had a job two months later.
Town officials declined to confirm Sgt. Edward Wilks was terminated for his role in the shooting, citing reasons of personnel confidentiality.
“All I can say is that he is no longer employed by the town of New Castle,” said town administrator Steve Rippy.
Police picked up a 50-pound black Labrador mix named Jenny after she followed a Castle Valley resident home on Oct. 15. The dog was not wearing current tags.
Police patrolman Justin Wareham took the dog to the Silt pound, but couldn’t get it out of the car. Wilks, the supervising officer on duty, advised Wareham on how to handle the dog, which police later took to a field north of Silt and killed.
“The dog had become aggressive,” Wilks said. “The Silt pound doesn’t take vicious dogs. Garfield County doesn’t accept vicious dogs. Vets won’t take vicious dogs. We didn’t have any place to store it.”
Wilks said various attempts to control the dog had failed. Police even called the Garfield County animal control officer for a tranquilizer gun, but the officer didn’t have one.
The killing produced a blizzard of letters to the editor, with residents coming down on both sides of the issue.
“I say thank you to the officers who handled the situation with common sense,” wrote Sharon Robyn of Parachute.
“Many dogs are capable of escape, and (I wonder) if the New Castle police plan to kill these dogs, too,” wrote Wendy Lind of Glenwood Springs.
The New Castle Town Council authorized an investigation of the shooting. The report recommended that additional resources and options be incorporated into police department procedures, and that a review be conducted of resources, equipment and training available through local animal shelters and veterinarians.
The report, written by Rippy, also said Wilks did not give enough consideration to other possible options.
“Had other options been fully explored, a different conclusion might have resulted,” Rippy’s report said.
Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534
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