Officer suspended for refusing to shoot skunk

Mount Carmel Police Department Officer David Dean received a three day suspension earlier this month for refusing to shoot a skunk that had bitten a child, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

Dean reportedly violated departmental policy when he gave his duty weapon to fire Chief Ryan Christian, who fired three shoots to kill the skunk.

…Animal control officer Eddie Seabolt received a walk-in complaint at the municipal animal shelter from a woman whose 6-year-old daughter had been bitten by a skunk at their residence on the 700th block of Hammond Avenue.

The child was reportedly taken to receive medical attention, and Seabolt responded to the residence where he located what was determined to be an injured baby skunk.

Mount Carmel prohibits its animal control officer from euthanizing animals. Dean responded to the residence. Christian also responded to the residence to assist.

“Officer Seabolt stated once Patrolman Dean arrived on the scene he told him he needed for him to kill the injured skunk because it had bitten a child and the head had to be sent off and be checked for rabies,” Robinette stated in his report. “(Seabolt) stated Patrolman Dean stated he couldn’t kill an animal and he refused to kill the animal, knowing it had bitten a child.”

Dean gave a written statement in which he described the baby skunk as being injured and appearing as if it had either been hit by a vehicle or attacked by another animal.

According to his own statement Dean told Seabolt, “It’s hard for me to shoot an animal unless it’s trying to eat me because it’s here for a purpose and really hard to shoot an animal when it’s injured.”

…Fortunately for the child, the skunk wasn’t rabid.