2nd Baltimore Officer Suspended in Slitting of Dog’s Throat

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Baltimore Police press conference June 18 regarding arrest and suspension of officer involved in animal cruelty. (Photo: Baltimore Police Department)

Baltimore Police press conference June 18 regarding arrest and suspension of officer involved in animal cruelty. (Photo: Baltimore Police Department)

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UPDATED: June 19, 2014 6:08 p.m.

BALTIMORE, Md. (WNEW/AP) A second Baltimore officer has been suspended while the department investigates his role in the slitting of a dog’s throat, while the animal’s owner says it took her days to find out how the dog died.

Court documents say Officer Thomas Schmidt held the dog down while a fellow officer cut the animal’s throat on Saturday. Schmidt has been suspended with pay during the investigation, Baltimore Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said.

“This is so criminal what’s happened,” said the 45-pound dog’s owner, Sarah Gossard. “It makes me sick.”

She said detectives contacted her Tuesday to see if she wanted to make a statement but didn’t tell her how the dog had died. She said she finally found out the next day when she was contacted by a reporter.

The officer accused of slitting the dog’s throat, 49-year-old Jeffrey Bolger, faces trial next month on animal cruelty charges. He’s free on his own recognizance and has been suspended without pay.

Schmidt has not been charged.

The dog, a female Shar-Pei named Nala, was killed on Saturday after police responded to a report that it had bitten a woman at a bar. The dog died from blood loss.

According to charging documents, witnesses told detectives that Bolger cut the dog’s throat with a knife after saying he would “gut this thing.” Authorities said the knife he used wasn’t department-issued.

Bolger came to assist other officers after one said the dog was foaming at the mouth and appeared malnourished.

Bolger did not return a message on Thursday, and court records didn’t list an attorney for him. A message left with the Fraternal Order of Police seeking comment about Schmidt’s suspension wasn’t immediately returned.

Gossard said she drove around the Canton neighborhood for hours searching for Nala after she ran out of an open gate. Gossard said later Saturday she received a phone call from a neighbor who’d heard the dog had bitten someone outside a nearby bar. She rushed to the bar, and was given the phone number of the woman Nala had bitten. When Gossard called her, the woman said she had called the police, and that the dog had been “put down.”

Gossard then called Animal Control, which confirmed that the dog was dead. But Gossard said she didn’t find out how the dog died until Wednesday.

The dog was killed three months after another officer was accused of beating and choking his girlfriend’s puppy to death and texting her a photo of the dead dog. That officer was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

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(TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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