NPR Story
6:59 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Entire City Council In Idaho Town Faces Recall Effort Over Shooting Of Dog

A group of citizens in the small Idaho town of Filer started gathering signatures this week to recall the mayor and the entire city council.

Their grievance is over the February shooting of a pet dog and the city's decision to retain the police officer who did it.

It was a story that went viral almost immediately. Officer Tarek Hassani was responding to a complaint about loose dogs when he fatally shot a black lab named Hooch on the owner’s front lawn. A police car dash-cam recorded video of incident. (Warning: video includes profanity and graphic images)

Now, some in the town of 2,500 say Filer's elected officials should be booted from office for not firing the officer.

“If somebody's first inclination is to reach for their gun and start shooting, I don't think that's something that a PR training is going to do any good for," says Josh Wallin, one of the organizers of the recall campaign. "A lot of people don't feel safe with the officer still on and patrolling and we're taking the next legal step that we have at our disposal.”

An internal investigation determined that Hassani was justified in shooting the dog to protect himself, although the investigator did note the shooting could have been avoided.

The mayor of Filer says police officers will go through extra training on working with the public and handling aggressive dogs. Of the recall campaign, he says citizens have “every right” to go through that process.

This week, a cafe in Filer set up recall petitions for people to sign and campaign organizers plan to start going door-to-door on weekends.

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