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Former deputy who shot dog takes plea deal

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Jarrod Dooley during the April 19 incident in Point.

A Rains County sheriff's deputy who shot a dog during a controversial April 19 incident in Point has accepted a plea-bargain deal that includes his permanent retirement from law enforcement in Texas. As a result, Jarrod Dooley will not have to face a Cruelty to Animals charge. The decision was made on Sept. 18 at the Rains County courthouse in Emory.

Dooley began working for the Rains County Sheriff's Department in December 2013. The incident in April began when Point resident Cole Middleton told police dispatchers that his house had been robbed. Both Texas Department of Public Safety officers and Rains County deputies responded to the call.

Trouble started when a Dooley shot Middleton’s dog, a blue heeler named Candy. Dooley shot the dog in the back of the head and claimed he was acting in self defense. Middleton found his dog mortally wounded but still alive and apparently in pain. Middleton says he begged the deputy to shoot Candy again, to end her suffering. Middleton said that since his guns had just been robbed, he had no efficient means of killing the dog. Dooley refused, and Middleton then drowned Candy using a bucket full of water to end her suffering.

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Candy, Cole Middleton's blue heeler.

After that, Middleton began to video record his interaction with law enforcement. The video helped the incident become widely distributed on social media, where some reacted negatively to both the story of the shooting and to the conduct of DPS officer Gary Hayes, who mocked Middleton during the encounter. 

Dooley was dismissed from the Rains County Sheriff's Department on April 24.

In a written statement presented in court on Sept. 18, Dooley formally apologized to Middleton for shooting the dog. Dooley also wrote that a dog bite he suffered at a previous job had made him irrationally fearful of dog bites. Because of the frequency with which law officers encounter dogs, Dooley has chosen to retire from the profession. Dooley signed a "Permanent Surrender of License" statement, which is to be filed with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. In exchange for Dooley being prohibited from working for law enforcement in Texas, the prosecutor dropped the cruelty to animals charge, which was dismissed. 


Cole Middleton's cell phone video 

On Sept. 16, Middleton received a letter from DPS saying that Hayes had violated agency policy during the incident and had been disciplined. The letter did not say how Hayes had been disciplined.