War on Drugs

Puppycide in Prince George's County


Ten days ago, police in Prince George's Country, Maryland conducted a mistaken drug raid on Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo, his wife, and her mother.  During the raid, the shot and killed the family's two black labs, one of which the family says was running away.  Police officials now concede that Calvo and his wife were innocent, and they regret that Calvo and his family were "victimized by drug dealers," but they refuse to apologize for the violent tactics, or for killing the dogs.

As it turns out, it isn't the first time Prince George's County police have killed the family pet during a botched raid.  From November of last year:

The Myers say the deputies knew immediately they had raided the wrong home. They say it could have ended with an apology, until the couple heard two shots from the yard.

"And I said, 'You just shot my dog," said Pam Myers, through tears. "I just wanted to go out and hold her a bit. They wouldn't even let me go out."

The couple's five-year-old boxer Pearl was killed. The deputy says he feared for his life. They say the dog would bark but was no danger to the deputies.

ABC 7/NewsChannel 8's Brad Bell reports that a search of court records shows a warrant for a suspected drug dealer who lives two doors away at 14610 Livingston Road. The address is clearly displayed on that house.

"It's just not right that people have to worry about—police have their jobs to do, but the house is marked over there. All they had to do was go look," she said. "I want the sheriff to apologize to my family for killing their dog."

The Myers say they have received no apology. They say the deputies just left the scene, offering no explanation.

And the Washington Post reports:

Upper Marlboro resident Amber James has filed a $4 million lawsuit accusing sheriff's deputies of searching her home without a warrant in May 2007 while looking for her sister, who lived in Capitol Heights. According to the suit, deputies falsely claimed to have a warrant and searched every room of the home. When they did not find the sister, the suit alleges, they threatened to return the next day and search again, saying that if they did, James's dog would be dead.

The Post article quotes some law enforcement professional organizations who say that during a raid, killing the family dog should be the absolutely last option. That may be the case, but too many police departments across the country haven't gotten the memo.