The Killing of Bear-Bear
Just this past Monday, August 2, Ryan and Rachel Reitaliata saw their Husky dog Bear-Bear, venture out with a family member on a routine, fun trip to the dog park for some friendly frolic and exercise. But Ryan and Rachel didn’t expect the evening would end being in an animal hospital and hearing there is nothing they could do to save their dying dog.
An off-duty police officer and his wife went to the Quail Run Community Dog Park in Severn, Maryland at about 6:30 p.m. with their leashed German shepherd. At some point, Bear-Bear came over to the German shepherd to play. When play got a little rough, the police officer told Bear-Bear’s guardian, Stephen Kurinij, to remove his dog. Before Stephen could react, the officer pulled out a gun, stepped back, and fired into Bear-Bear.
The pistol-packing jerk used a Glock 9mm with hollow-point bullets.
Oh, the police were called – by the dog killer. And according to the Anne Arundel County Police, “The off-duty officer stated that he feared for the safety of himself, his wife and their dog and subsequently shot the husky with a handgun he had in his possession.” When the Reitaliatas inquired about it the next day, the Anne Arundel Police told them that no charges would be filed and there was nothing the they could do except to file a civil complaint. The case was closed.
Ryan and Rachel Reitaliata went to the press. And when this hit the airwaves all hell broke loose. The public was livid. People from across the country have flooded online forums and showered officials with complaints – at both the dog killer and the Anne Arundel Police.
For the best account of the incident, please read Justice for Bear-Bear: An Interview with his Family by Penny Blankenship of Meeshkaworld. Read it entirely, it will leave your blood boiling.
The Media made inquires into the incident, and their reports on this incident came to the attention of County Executive John R. Leopold. He immediately directed the police department to reopen the investigation and do a thorough proper job.
Why did this police officer feel it necessary to use lethal force to separate two dogs that weren’t even fighting? A 9mm with hollow point bullets is not your run of the mill protection. Those bullets are designed to kill upon impact, shattering internal organs. That is, uh, pretty over-the-top personal protection for a nice walk to the dog park with your pup.
Why did the Anne Arundel Police decide not to file charges and close the case so quickly? Somebody discharged a very powerful weapon in a public place, killing a family pet. It was a piss-poor investigation that smells. And if you read Penny Blankenship’s post, you’ll find a lot of offensive behavior by the Anne Arundel Police Department.
People are getting sick and tired of the gun-slinging jerks that wear a badge. And what’s even more tiresome is the Blue Wall of Silence. We are tired of police officer crimes and misconduct that gets dismissed by their own. It’s usually us, John and Jane Q. Public, that gets the raw end of the deal when the police abuse their authority.
In this article, Trigger-happy cops and dead dogs – when is it going to end? , the writer states…
It is very important that a precedent be set here, an example made of this trigger-happy cop, to show armed officers everywhere that they WILL be held accountable for every death and injury of a pet caused by firing their weapons when less deadly force could have been used.
Good words. There is talk of Bear-Bear’s Law. Make Bear-Bear’s Law a law that will reign in the police. They cannot get away with shooting a family pet just because “they can”. Police Departments across the nation had better pay attention. In a world of rapidly eroding respect for the police, departments can’t afford to have this shit happening any more.
The dog killer is a civilian police officer at Fort Myer who lives in the vicinity of the Quail Run Community Dog Park. The police are not releasing his name because of the ongoing investigation. He’s been put on administrative leave by Ft. Myer and he wasted no time in getting a lawyer. Somebody leaked his name to the press but I’ll leave that alone – for now.
Word of Bear-Bear’s killing has spread all over the world. It has been mentioned and discussed in almost every dog breed forum and animal blog. Keeping up with the reports is the Baltimore Sun and Jill Rosen’s Unleashed Blog, also with the Baltimore Sun.
The investigation report should be out in the next day or so. Keep watching the Baltimore Sun and the Facebook support pages.
Then we will see which way the unleashed rage will go.
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