Sulphur police officer under investigation after fatally shooting dog

New information on Sulphur officer involved in fatal dog shooting
Arzy Kensington, a 14-month-old Labrador golden retriever mix, was shot Monday morning by an officer with the Sulphur Police Department. (Source: Brandon Carpenter / The Huffington Post)
Arzy Kensington, a 14-month-old Labrador golden retriever mix, was shot Monday morning by an officer with the Sulphur Police Department. (Source: Brandon Carpenter / The Huffington Post)

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - An officer with the Sulphur Police Department is under investigation after fatally shooting a dog Monday morning.

The officer -- identified by the dog's owner as Brian Thierbach -- said he shot the animal after it bit him, but two eye witnesses are disputing that claim.

Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats said his office and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident.

"I would like to take this opportunity to address the concerns in reference to the incident which occurred during the morning of April 28," Coats said Wednesday in a news release. "I want to assure you that this incident is being taken seriously and is being investigated thoroughly."

Coats asked that anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Mel Estess 337-527-4590.

"Your patience is appreciated in this matter, and a news release will be forthcoming, once the investigation is complete," Coats said.

The story went national Tuesday night when The Huffington Post published a story detailing the incident through the eyes of the two witness.

Eric Midkiff, the circulation manager at the Southwest Daily News in Sulphur, told KPLC he witnessed the incident and claims the dog never growled or bit the officer. Midkiff went so far as to claim the officer lied about the dog's aggression and said the officer changed his story after the shooting.

Authorities were called to the Southwest Daily News around 7 a.m. Monday after two men and a dog were seen hanging around the newspaper's parking lot. The men, Brandon Carpenter, 28, and Logan Laliberte, 21, told KPLC they were traveling by train to visit friends in Lake Charles.

The men, both from Maine, said they purchased cigarettes at a nearby gas station. When it began to rain, they took shelter in an open box truck in the newspaper's parking lot. Carpenter said he tied the dog, a 14-month-old Labrador golden retriever mix named Arzy Kensington, to a fence near the truck.

A few minutes after getting into the truck, Carpenter and Laliberte were approached by the police officer and placed in handcuffs.

Midkiff said he was about 20 feet away when he saw the officer handcuff Carpenter and Laliberte and also claimed the dog was tied up during the ordeal.

Carpenter said the officer asked him if the dog was going to attack or bite him.

"I told him no. The dog is friendly," said Carpenter.

About 20 seconds later, Carpenter said he heard a shot.

"I saw blood running down his face. I watched my dog convulse and twitch his last few breaths out of his body while I sat 20 feet away, and watched the blood come out of his head and there was nothing I could do... I couldn't console him. I couldn't do anything to help him," said Carpenter.

Midkiff said he did not see the dog bite the officer nor did he think the dog was showing any signs of aggression.

"The dog never growled or bared its teeth, never bit the officer," Midkiff told KPLC.

Midkiff said the officer initially claimed the dog bit him on the calf but later changed his story to say that the dog had bit him on the heel of his shoe. According to the story on The Huffington Post, the officer's toe was photographed after the incident.

Midkiff claims he heard a different officer, one who arrived on the scene after the shooting, tell the first officer that their captain would "take care of" the situation.

Carpenter and Laliberte were charged with vehicular trespassing and released hours later.

Meanwhile Carpenter said he plans to be here indefinitely until the matter is resolved. He said he along with supporters plan to picket at 3 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Square in Sulphur -- demanding the officer resign.

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