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Alleged kidnapping leads to dog shooting

July 9, 2014

An afternoon contact between Inyo County sheriff’s deputies and an alleged kidnapper resulted in the fatal shooting of a local resident’s dog Monday.
During the incident, Raymond Denver, 42, was arrested for alleged kidnapping, assault and other felony and misdemeanor charges.
Deputies had been looking for Denver since July 6, just before 11 p.m., when someone reported to the Sheriff’s Office that “Denver had been witnessed forcing a female into his vehicle following a domestic dispute,” a Sheriff’s Office press release states.
The following day, on July 7, the Sheriff’s Office responded to the 300 block of South Pa Ha Lane in Bishop to contact Denver. Due to the location, Tribal Police accompanied the sheriff’s deputies to South Pa Ha.
The Sheriff’s Office press release states that “as the sheriff’s deputy and Tribal Police were approaching Denver, an extremely aggressive dog advanced from behind a residence and attempted to bite the sheriff’s deputy. In an effort to protect himself, the deputy fired one shot at the dog.”
Animal Control was contacted by the Sheriff’s Office and the dog was transported “to a veterinarian where it expired from the gunshot wound.”
Amidst the chaos, Denver was apprehended and taken to the Inyo County Jail where he is being held on the four charges of alleged kidnapping, vandalism, misdemeanor level battery as well as felony level battery. The bail is currently set for $75,000.
The type of dog and its owner have not been disclosed.
Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Carma Roper was able to provide some information.
Roper explained that situations in which officers are required to use their weapon for any matter “rarely occur” in Inyo County. Roper was unable to disclose any further information on the alleged kidnapping victim in respect to the victim and to the sensitivity of the case. She also said the case is still under investigation. Roper was also able to communicate the status of the deputy, saying he was unharmed and doing well.
Also under investigation is the shooting itself, which according to Sheriff Bill Lutze is considered a “discharge of a firearm” rather than an “officer-involved shooting.”
The latter, he explained, involves the shooting of humans. Lutze also explained that each of the deputies are trained to deal with aggressive animals in the academy, and also gain experience in the field while working in Inyo County.
According to Lutze, “in this particular incident, from what we know, there was no other recourse – because it was so close and so fast – there was no other recourse he could have taken than what he did.”
Lutze described less-lethal options such as pepper spray and Tasers as methods that have been proven ineffective in the field against highly agitated animals. “Pepper spray doesn’t always work, especially if the animal is really aggressive,” he said. “And when the dog is 2-3 feet away from you, just deploying the Taser takes time, and we’ve had animals that didn’t respond.”

(Editor Darcy Ellis contributed to this story.)

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