By Reann Huber
A Buckhead resident’s dog was shot by a Morgan County deputy sheriff early in the morning on May 12 while attempting to serve a court issued document.
Deputy Adam Howard approached the home on Oconee Road, where a dog was barking at Howard from the front porch. The dog did not approach Howard until a female, later identified as Crystal Burke, opened the front door.
“At this point the dog had stood up and moved to the top of the porch steps still barking at me,” the police report stated. “The female said something that I could not understand over the dog barking and growling at me. The dog was bearing its teeth at this point and stopped wagging its tail.”
Burke went back inside and the dog proceeded to run towards Howard and lunged at him twice where he perceived the dog as a threat and shot at the dog. Howard was unsure if the dog had been hit since the dog ran behind the resident’s home and hid under a neighboring porch.
Howard explained to Burke his fears of the aggression from the dog and his original intent to serve a Greene County Temporary Protective Order (TPO) to Michael Ray Haley, 26.
Haley, was being served the TPO under allegations from his wife, Crystal Haley, of a domestic dispute that allegedly occurred at their Carey Station home on May 7. Haley turned himself in to Greene County Jail on May 8, after receiving the TPO from Howard regarding the domestic violence allegations. According to Greene County Sheriff’s Office reports, Michael Ray Haley allegedly damaged furniture in his Greene County residence and cursed at his wife before taking a pistol and a shotgun from the residence and leaving.
Howard stayed on scene of the shooting until the TPO. had been served to Haley. Morgan County Animal Control arrived to transport the dog for immediate medical treatment.
The dog received treatment at Main Street Veterinary Office in Madison after suffering superficial wounds and was released sometime over the weekend and is expected to make a full recovery.
Video of the incident was posted on the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page soon after the incident and has been viewed several thousand times.
Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Captain Chris Bish, Investigations Division, responded to the scene as well as other investigators. “The sheriff’s office covered the medical costs for the dog as it was the right thing to do,” Sheriff Robert Markley said.
Markley also wanted to ensure the community in a statement released after the incident that “anytime law enforcement is required to use force, it is as a last resort and we take it very seriously.”