Skip to comments.No leave for cop who shot turtle
Posted on 07/15/2005 6:28:16 AM PDT by Born Conservative
EXETER (PA) As people question why a police sergeant shot and killed a snapping turtle last week, a municipal police training commission recommends the sergeant be placed on administrative leave or administrative duty while an investigation is conducted.
Police Chief John McNeil says thats nonsense.
Its like if an officer decides to shoot a deer hit by a car, its his decision.
McNeil, who was at a conference for the Police Chiefs Association in Valley Forge this week, said he does plan to review Sgt. Len Gallis report but will not put him on administrative leave.
I was absent during the incident and only knew about it from the papers, he said. I will read his report and move on from there.
McNeil said a specific report must be filled out whenever an officer fires a weapon.
If a gun was discharged at a human, the incident would be handled in a totally different way, but it was a turtle, McNeil said.
Beverly Young, of the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission in Harrisburg, said Monday she does not know the specifics of the incident, but the commission teaches officers to only use force if there is an endangerment of life or property.
I hope he had a nightstick or contacted animal welfare before discharging the weapon.
The turtle, estimated to be 50 pounds, was found in the Wyoming Avenue yard of James Fino on the morning of July 8. First Fino tried to poke the turtle away with a broomstick, but the tortoise quickly snapped the stick in two.
When Galli took over, he attempted to pick it up. The turtle nearly bit the sergeants back, so he fired two rounds into the turtles head.
Young said if the shooting involved another human, the officer would immediately be put on administrative duty. But the policy on discharging a weapon on an animal is different for every department.
Galli did not return calls for comment for this story.
Since a report of the shooting appeared in the Times Leader last week, the turtle incident has become a popular topic on online blogs. A Luzerne County Forum, at http://luzernecounty.proboards13.com/index.cgi, has more than 20 responses from readers weighing in. Most seem to think Galli went too far. Some bloggers took a more humorous approach, including one who posted a picture of a large turtle coming out of the water and saying Galli, Im coming for you, you shot my Pa!!!
The Web site for Texas-based public relations firm Idea Grove ( www.ideagrove.com/blog) posted information on the turtle shooting online and offered this advice to Galli A friendly (and free) recommendation to the Exeter PD: get your public information officer on the case Monday morning.
Trooper Linette Quinn, public information coordinator for the state police in Harrisburg, said state police policy is similar to Exeters in that the sergeant would not be placed on administrative duty because a person was not injured.
We (state police) have had to shoot dogs and deer that were hit by cars. All the cases were investigated involving animals and the troopers remained on active duty.
McNeil said the last shooting incident in the borough involving a police officer was in February 2004 when an officer had to shoot at a car that was attempting to run over the officer.
Because of the fast investigation, the officer, Dion Fernandes, was not placed on administrative leave.
Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas conducted an investigation into Fernandes firing of his weapon and concluded that the action was justified.
Want to express your opinion on the turtle shooting? Go to our bulletin board at www.timesleader.com
Who got to make the turtle soup?
Snapping turtles will happily take your finger off, the crabby things. If you hit one with your car, you'll get a flat tire and the turtle will be fine and probably laugh at you. One of those things went nuts on me once, and I'll never forgive them.
He would probably be charged with multiple state crimes involving the discharge of a firearm and animal cruelty, and the feds would likely get involved to investigate if the turtle was an endagered species.
a 50 pound snapper is big enough and ornery enough to be a hazard. these things haven't evolved in millenia - they haven't needed to. they fear nothing and nothing poses a threat to them save man.
these things are true dinosaurs in every sense of the word. magnificent animals, well suited to their tasks, but they are nonery as heck when someone or something bugs them. they will attack and they will chase a human through water (I know from experience).
when they bite, they will NOT loosen their grip until they sense that whatever they bit is dead - no more struggles, and then only gradually, slowly.
unlike many turtles, their head does not retract into their shell - itt won't fit, but then again it doesn't have to. they can almost reach their tail, wihch is the only means by which one can pick one up, but beware - their neck is longer and more powerful than you might think.
You can safely pick up a snapper by its tail but I have to admit that at 50 pounds I wouldn't try it. However I wouldn't have shot it either......the things been around for quite a long time.
this horrible.....typing thru tears....don't you cruel freepers know that turtles live forever....they're like unicorns.
this savage officer should be shot
has a memorial fund been set up for the deceased's family
OK turtle, I'll give you till the count of 3 to get off this property.
I may be mistaken, but isn't there is difference between the two? And a snapping turtle isn't a tortoise, is it? I guess you can always count on journalists...
When I find them in the road I put them in the trunk and take them to the nearest body of water.
these things are highly dangerous creatures. I watched one once in a park pond. all it showed was the tip of it's nose, like a pencil eraser above the water. he would just break the surface and inhale, then silently slide back down into the depths. he would stay down for 20 minutes, and passsers by would not know he was there. anybody dangling their feet into the water would be in serious trouble.
when he would come to the surface, i could see that his shell was a good 20 inches or so across. silent, deadly, and lethal. the cop did a good thing to shoot him.
I'm having difficulty picturing this.
I used to see snappers frequently near our pond sunning themselves, close to Wyalusing,PA but they never came to the house to visit. Too many groundhogs I suppose
my brother found a big snapper once. he put it in the back of his staion wagon and took it to where we were all hanging around. when we looked into the back of the car, it was empty.
a closer examination revealled that he had maneged to get under the driver's seat. He wouldn't come out, so we had to unbolt the seat(from below) and remove it in order to get the thing out.brother never did anything that stupid again.
Are you sure you aren't talking about the movie "Jaws"?
The worst most snapping turtles usually do is eat ducklings.
I sugegsted to Mystic Marinelife Aquarium that they feature one or two in an exhibit. I offerred to catch them if they would put our names on the placard. they declined citing "animal husbandry issues" whatever that means.
Anyway, after I had made the turn around and came back, the turtle was just climbing up onto the median but she still had to navigate the north bound road to get to the pond. So I picked her up and helped her across the street and dropped her into the pond. I say she because I suspect she was returning from the woods from an egg laying journey. I would say she was in the neighborhood of 30 pounds......
I think he should have called Animal Control first to see if they would come relocate it. If they then refused for safety reasons or weren't available, I think shooting it is excuseable, although unfortunate.
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