SULPHUR, LA — Witnesses dispute an officer’s version of events after a dog was shot in the top of the head in a parking lot. The owner says that the cop fought back a smile after shooting his friendly, tail-wagging dog for no discernible reason — while it was tied up on a leash.
The dog owner says he is “sick with grief” over losing his puppy, which he describes as “a big teddy bear that you had to feed.”
The confrontation arose when police came to investigate two men and a dog in a parking lot on April 28th around 7:20 a.m.
Brandon Carpenter, 28, and Logan Laliberte, 21, had been traveling across the USA with a few meager possessions and Carpenter’s dog, a 14-month-old Labrador / Newfoundland / golden retriever mix named Arzy Kensington. The transient pair started their journey in Maine and traveled all the way to Louisiana by walking and hitching a ride on a freight train.
While walking through the town of Sulphur when it began to rain. Seeking shelter, they found a box truck that had been left open behind a warehouse and sat inside it. A witness reported the trespass to police.
Officer Brian Thierbach of the Sulphur Police Department soon arrived, and with his gun drawn ordered the men out of the truck. They complied.
The officer told Carpenter to “get your dog” and allowed him to tie it to the nearby fence with the leash. The men were then handcuffed and led a few feet away.
Carpenter says the cop kept his gun “poised in hand,” and went back to where the dog was tied up. The owner explained what happened next:
“About 20 seconds later, without a warning, a scuffle, a bark, or a voice command, there was a single shot fired, right through the top of Arzy dog’s head. I sat there in cuffs in the rain watching my dog convulse his last few breaths. I was sobbing and asking why. The officer tried to fight off a smile while telling me that the dog tried to bite his foot. [Arzy] was on a 3 and a half foot leash, unable to move more than 3 and a half feet.
I then was placed in the back of the cop car facing my dead, blood-stained dog. About a half an hour later, a few more cops showed up and I had to watch as they stuffed his body into a trash bag and threw him into the back of a truck. I feel so sad and empty right now. How can people have so much hate in their heart? I’m sick with grief.”
“All he had to do is take one giant step back,” Carpenter remarked to the Southwest Daily News. “Why didn’t he ask me to move the dog or just take one big step back if he was uncomfortable?”
Eric Midkiff, an employee of the company which owned the parking lot and the truck, witnessed the incident and stated that the dog never attacked the officer. He had a clear view of Carpenter and Laliberte, who were both handcuffed on the ground, as well as the officer and the tethered dog.
“That dog did not bite that officer,” Midkiff told the Huffington Post. “The dog was wagging his tail, his tongue was hanging out.”
“The dog was rubbing up against the cop,” said Midkiff. “He would rub the dog’s back and then push him away. All of a sudden, he just jumped down and shot the dog in the head.”
Midkiff also says he watched Officer Thierbach change his story while being interviewed. First he claimed to have been bitten on the calf, then he claimed to have been bitten on the back of his heel. Later, another officer took a photograph of his toe, according to the Post.
Carpenter described the horror he saw when Arzy was shot: “I see my dog kind of start shaking and batting at his head,” he said. “I saw the blood start to run down his face. … I’m watching my dog die while I’m sitting in cuffs.”
Carpenter and Laliberte were charged with trespassing but the shooting of Arzy was completely uncalled for.
Mr. Carpenter says that his efforts to plan a protest have been met with intimidation from the town of Sulphur. He says that Mayor Christopher Duncan told him that he could not protest unless he obtained a permit, and that his protest had to be covered by $10,000.00 worth of liability insurance. Carpenter was told that he would have to schedule a hearing to ask for permission for the permit — and the earliest date that he would be heard would be over three weeks from now.
Despite the town’s best efforts to silence him, Carpenter has scheduled a public protest for for Saturday, May 3rd at Heritage Square at 3:00 p.m. Everyone is invited.
“I’m not going to allow this to get swept away,” said Carpenter. He is demanding accountability for what happened and requesting the dismissal of Officer Brian Thierbach. A petition is listed in the section below, as well as other ways you can help.
Call for the dismissal of Officer Brian Thierbach and stand up against the attempts to shut down the First Amendment with a ‘permit.’
Mayor Christopher Duncan
Phone: (337) 527-4500
Sulphur Police Department
Phone: (337) 527-4550
Support: Justice for Arzy | Facebook.com
Funding: Justice for Arzy | GoFundMe.com