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City agrees to front cash for dog shot by officer

Owner who couldn't pay medical bills took the incident to city council
News Editor
    June 4, 2003 — The Madras Police Department has agreed to pay a portion of the veterinary bills for a dog an officer shot it in self defense more than a month ago.
    On April 22, officer Tanner Stanfill shot a rottweiler mix named Bruce that attacked him at the home of Madras resident Elizabeth Holquin.
    With the exception of putting down severely injured animals, it was the first time in 15 years that a Madras police officer had fired a weapon on duty, Police Chief Tom Adams said.
    Since the action was in self defense, the department originally refused to be held liable for the medical bills, arguing that doing so would set a dangerous precendent.
    But after the incident became an issue with the Madras City Council, where it was aired at the two most recent meetings, Adams said the city chose to help out.
    “The police department itself was not, policy-wise, interested in paying for a justified shoot,” Adams said. “But some of the city council members were inclined to help Ms. Holquin.”
    Bruce, the dog, was returned to Holquin Monday after 40 days at Cascade East Veterinary Clinic. The bullet entered its snout, causing oral damage that will require more treatment, but Holquin said she’s just happy to have him home.
    “I’m satisfied with it,” said Holquin, who took the incident before to the city council out of desperation because she could not afford her dog’s medical bills.
    The city will pay $700 to Cascade East Veterinary Clinic, which had been holding the dog pending payment. The clinic agreed to release the dog Monday with the city’s payment. About $1,500 is still owed, and contributions toward paying off Bruce’s bills can be made directly at the clinic.
    Adams compared the dog’s aggressive behavior to a man lunging at his officer with a knife, and emphasized the department did the right thing in self defense.
    “We didn’t do anything wrong and I’ll maintain that,” Adams said. “There was a feeling from some of the councilors that we wanted to help.”