Animal Control Officer Accused of Abuse

dojieBy Kohr Harlan

(CNN) — A dog owner in Oregon is upset, saying authorities abused his pet. The animal control officer says restraint was needed because the dog was allegedly causing problems. However, that’s not what witnesses say.

“I don’t want any other animal to have to go through what I’m having to go through now,” said Marlin Starr.

Starr’s pudgy 9 year old lab got out of the backyard Monday and into the street. A Washington County Animal Control Officer Hoyt Stepp told Starr that his dog Dojie and another dog were blocking traffic and being so aggressive that the officer said he had to strike Dojie with a bite stick to the face to get the dog to back down.

But at least two neighbors who saw what was happening say the dogs were not being aggressive and actually ran back into their own backyard after being confronted by animal control officers.

“At that point witnesses say that the officers followed the dogs into the backyard,” said Starr. “One witness told me that
‘Your animals were perfectly fine until we could no longer see them.'”

None of the witnesses saw what happened in the back yard, but Dojie was hit so hard she’s likely to lose her right eye as a result of the bite stick to the face.

Washington County’s Manager of Animal Services Debby Wood told me the Animal Control Authority does not that believe animal abuse occurred, but withheld further comment until Hillsboro Police have finished their investigation. Hillsboro police are
just beginning their investigation.

Authorities confirm Stepp was investigated for his role in a fatal dog shooting incident years ago, but he was cleared.


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  1. Lucy says:

    This is rediculous! Granted, the dogs should not have been out but sometimes dogs escape. The dogs went back to their own yard, followed by these “animal control officers” who then proceeded to hit this 9 YEAR OLD LAB to the point that she will lose the sight in her eye? He was investigated previously for his role in a fatal dog shooting….if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you can be pretty sure it’s a duck. Prosecute him for animal cruelty and fire him! There is no excuse.

  2. Dog Lover says:

    Totally agree, Lucy! This abusive and obviously deranged individual has no business interacting with animals. EVER!

    If this was my dog I’d be working on a huge lawsuit, including all medical expenses and pain and suffering, both mine and my dog’s. Sue the county as well for keeping this piece of filth employed in animal control after shooting and killing another dog. Whose dog will be next? We must insist on zero tolerance for this sort of heinous abuse.

  3. Kevin Quinn says:

    If the witnesses are correct than this guy should be in the unemployment line very soon. That is cruelty to animals.

  4. Annie says:

    1 needs to remember this is the media ‘reporting’. We don’t know what happened.
    Bite sticks are like cattle prods. They give electric shocks. Unless he was using something other than a bite stick a blow was unnecessary if it happened that way.
    My experience is that many ‘animal control officers’ know next to nothing about the animals they are ‘controlling’.
    If that is the case here, the whole dept. needs to be investigated.
    The stories I alone could tell would make your head spin.
    But don’t just denigrate him because the media said he needs it. You simply don’t know the truth.

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