Rogue cop killed cat entangled in barbed wire with a hammer

Rogue cop killed cat
The law under which this bad cop killed Freddy.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Centralia, Washington, USA: You may remember the tragic tale of Freddy, a tabby cat, who was entangled in barbed wire on a fence. Someone called the police and Officer Philip Reynolds turned up. He decided to kill the cat with a hammer. There were several blows. He decided that he couldn’t use his firearm. There was a witness. Reynolds made no attempt to consult with Freddy’s owner and neither did he make an attempt to call a veterinarian or seek the assistance of other people to try and save Freddie’s life. All of these actions would have resulted in much better outcome. Finally, Freddy’s body was dumped as trash.

At the time we did not know that Philip Reynolds had a disciplinary record at his place of work and that he had been sacked. His superior stated that Reynolds failed to follow supervisor directives to backup other offices and had a previous history of ill-discipline. His employment was terminated on March 22, 2012. Regrettably, he was re-employed about two years later following an arbitrator’s decision. It seems that Reynolds went back to court and got reinstated. The police force had to pay out a large sum of money in compensation as well.

In addition to a record of poor discipline, it appears that officer Reynolds has a record of using his Taser for longer than required to gain control over a suspect, following which he wrote reports which covered his tracks by minimising the amount of time the applied electric charge (source: The Chronicle, Greater Lewis County, Washington).

So now we know that officer Reynolds is, on my description, a “rogue cop”. He may have changed his ways. We hope so. However, his background sheds light on his attitude on the day that he killed Freddy so brutally. In my first article, I did say that this sort of incident is all about attitude and as we can see from this officer’s record his attitude was poor to say the least.

So what are the rights of a police officer when he decides to kill a companion animal under these circumstances? Under the law of Washington state, a law enforcement officer has the right to destroy an animal which has been seriously injured and which continue to suffer unless destroyed. That is pretty clear: an officer can kill a cat trapped in barbed wire if necessary.

However, there are limits to a police officer’s right to do this. He has to exercise “reasonable prudence”. In addition he has to consult with a licensed veterinarian and the owner of the animal where possible.

On the evidence we have, officer Reynolds did not make any attempt to talk to Freddy’s owner or contact a veterinarian. I think we can say, therefore, that he did not exercise reasonable prudence, which is the reason why Freddy’s owner, Karen Thorson is considering taking action against officer Reynolds and I presume the police force. I’m not sure what sort of action she can take. It would be a criminal prosecution and if this happened in in the UK it might be under the heading of “misconduct in public office”. It may also simply be a straightforward case of animal cruelty in which case he could be prosecuted under the animal welfare laws of Washington state. He could also be disciplined again. What chance of any of these occurring? Very slight. This is about a cat and cats barely have rights.


My thanks to Elisa at the Examiner.com for the story.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

5 thoughts on “Rogue cop killed cat entangled in barbed wire with a hammer”

  1. This is horrific, poor Freddy.

    There have been a lot of stories lately where cops in the US have shot/killed/battered to death family pets.

    With the increasing arming of UK cops, I am sure we will follow suit soon enough ๐Ÿ™

  2. Leslie McIntyre

    As I said before and still feel the same, killing that poor cat with a hammer speaks of brutality. I think in most cases, there would’ve been many options to choose from. It felt wrong to me, sounded wrong, and ultimately he seems to fit the profile. I go by my gut and have learned to trust that.

    1. Your gut was right. When I first read the story I wasn’t sure whether the police officer had been wrong in his actions because we didn’t have all the facts. Although on the face of it he did appear to do wrong, very wrong, the circumstances may have mitigated his actions. But now we know that he is a bad cop it tells us why it happened as it did. His attitude was entirely wrong and he could have done so much more to have saved the life of this cat.

  3. Almost, but not quite, shocking that this was the best solution a trained policeman could come up with in an emergency situation.
    I would have hated to have had him on duty here the night I got injured in the woods, the hammer wielding psycho!

    1. Yes, it surprising that he got into the police force and then got back in after being sacked. I agree that the way he dealt with the injured cat was blinkered. I sense his immediate thought was to kill the cat rather than how to save the cat. It’s a mentality and his is very poor.

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