DENVER - Although they haven't posted in eight days, the Facebook page of the Adams County Sheriff's Office has been flooded with activity. Seemingly every comment and recommendation posted on the wall this week is related to outrage over a deputy shooting and killing a dog Monday night.
Deputy Deputy Wilfred Europe III shot and killed a dog named Ziggy that night after deputies went to the wrong building while responding to a burglar alarm, according to lawyers at the Animal Law Center.
Jeff Fisher, the owner of Ziggy, an eight-year-old blue heeler/border collie mix, said he watched as a deputy shot and killed his dog in front of his workshop.
"He killed my dog for no reason, no reason at all," Fisher told 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost.
As of 9 a.m. Friday, the Sheriff's Office had not commented to 7NEWS on the case. A few hours later, they confirmed to Kost that Europe was permanently taken off patrol duty. A press conference was also held Friday afternoon.
The Sheriff's Office hasn't posted on their Facebook wall since Jan. 10, including to respond to the dozens of comments from the public.
"Make sure you new officers from now on dont hate dogs and wont murder peoples pets for no reason. get some better training for your newer officers please. your current officers suck. thank you," Andrew Philben commented about Ziggy on a Jan. 8 posting about jobs available in the department.
7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost, who interviewed Fisher Tuesday, tried to contact the Sheriff's Office through both a Facebook message and a "recommendation" on their wall Thursday evening.
"Amanda Kost with 7News here. We have been trying to obtain public information from your department about two recent incidents. Our questions have not been answered, so I wanted to try and reach out to you here for answers;
"1.) Please release the name of the person shot and killed by a deputy on January 14
"2.) Please share information regarding the shooting death of Ziggy the dog by a Deputy who was responding to a burglary alarm reported at a different address.
I can be reached at: Amanda.Kost@kmgh.com"
As of Friday morning, Kost had received no response from the Sheriff's Office to the recommendation or the message that bore the same content.
On a Jan. 10 post about a search for a sex offender, all the comments seem to be about Ziggy. http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=268887949905312&id=203732116327074
"Andrew Philben why are you guys deleting the comments regarding the murder of ziggy the dog? people want to express their feelings, you work for the people, leave the comments alone."
"Nick Perslin Police have a use of force matrix they're supposed to use, a 35lb collie mix does not rise to the level of deadly force. This officer is a coward plain and simple. He should be fired for excessive use of force and also his complete disrespect of the dogs owner.This officer has shown poor judgement in his actions and should not be trusted with the public's safety!"
While it does appear several of the comments are coming from a small group of people, 7NEWS found none that were replied to by the Sheriff's Office.
The outrage on Facebook has also spread to the county's Facebook page, where an administrator is referring people to the Sheriff's Office.
"Amy Grassifulli I think all police officers need to be screened before they carry a gun.If you go barging in someones home and they have a dog of course they are going to go running out side. The need to take a course on how to handle dogs without pulling there favorite toy to kill the animal"
"Adams County Government, CO Please note that this matter is being handled by the Adams County Sheriff's Office. You may email questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the main number: 303.654.1850. Thank you."
7NEWS did try to contact the Sheriff's Office at that phone number and email address, in addition to others.
The following email was sent in response by Tonia Fuller a few hours later:
"I am Sheriff Darr’s admin. This message has been given to the Sheriff and PIO. If they have not made contact, they will. The sheriff has been in a meeting this morning and is unavailable. Thank you. "
Then, after a press conference from Sheriff Doug Darr, a department spokesman Sgt. Paul Gregory called our newsroom. He said the Facebook page administrator had been using the feature to "hide" comments only when they were vulgar or violent. Gregory also said his department has no plans to reply to any of the messages on Facebook.
Although 7NEWS couldn't find Kost's Thursday post, Gregory said he was able to find it and that it was simply buried under an overwhelming number of other posts.
At least two people have also tried to contact the Sheriff's Office through their twitter account.