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WPD: Dogs Shot Aug. 15 Had History of Aggression, Roaming Loose

Warwick Police Headquarters at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
Warwick Police Headquarters at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
Warwick Police Headquarters at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.

WARWICK, RI — Warwick Police had a lengthy record of incidents involving dogs kept at 327 Shamrock Drive before an officer shot two of them on Aug. 15.

In a report about the incident released Wednesday morning, police also noted that Keith Gladue, 53, who was watching the three dogs that day, had four other dogs and a litter of puppies at his home, and allowed rabies vaccinations on three older dogs to lapse.

On Aug. 15, Warwick Police responded to a report of the dogs loose in the neighborhood, acting aggressively, and that they had entered the open back room of the Buttonwoods CVS, and that one of the dogs had bitten a woman inside.

According to the report, the woman had been on break outside the open door when the dogs showed up and approached her aggressively. The followed as she backed into the open back room and tried to close the propped-open back door. One of the dogs jumped on her and bit her at least once, the woman reported, according to police reports.

Officer Jeffery Taranto, who took the woman’s statement on the attack, reported the woman had two marks on her from the dog, one on her rib cage near her right side, and another on her right lower hip. A rabies test for the dog, which was later shot and killed, was negative, according to the police report on the incident.

Taranto was able to access a video recording of the attack, which Warwick Police released on their Facebook page last week.

Also included in the report is a list of five prior incidents involving dogs kept at Gladue’s home, with Animal Control Officer Eric Brewster listing calls on March 1, March 6, July 30, and Oct. 5, 2018, and June 16, 2019 about dogs that were ultimately returned to Gladue’s custody.

One witness reported that he had encountered the dogs while at City Park in March, and that they attempted to attack him as he walked near the wood line along the soccer fields there.

Most recently, Brewster reported speaking with a woman who said that on Aug. 12, she had to jump on the roof of her car to escape two pit bulls, and later recognized them from news reports of the Aug. 15 shooting.

During a follow-up investigation, Animal Control Officer Heather Razza went to Gladue’s home Aug. 20 and learned that, in addition to the three dogs that had gotten loose, Gladue had four other mature pitbulls and eight six-week old puppies that were still nursing. The vaccinations for three of the mature dogs had expired in the prior two weeks, Razza noted.

Razza also reported that she saw a child sitting among the dogs and “a few spots of urine on the floor,” and that she issued four citations to Gladue for failing to restrain the dogs and letting the vaccinations expire, among other violations. He is due to attend a municipal court hearing on Oct. 10.

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Smith, ACO: Two Dogs charged, attacked Aug. 15

Both Officer Jeremy Smith and Animal Control Officer Eric Brewster report that Smith attempted to command the dogs to stop and then to sit before the animals rushed toward him and leaped at him, stopping only after Smith shot them.

According to Smith’s report, the dogs initially caught up to and passed him as he tried to reach his cruiser to avoid the animals, then turned one at a time and charged at him separately. The animals ignored his commands to stop and sit, forcing him to use his service weapon to stop the animals each time.

As Brewster got out of his vehicle to get a snare pole from the back, he heard Smith yell, “stop,” then “sit,” and saw Smith backing toward his cruiser with his weapon drawn, continuing to yell stop at the dogs.

Then, Brewster saw one of the dogs, “Running full speed toward Officer Smith, reaching about five feet from him and beginning to lunge, when Officer Smith fired his service weapon, hitting the dog in what appeared to be the chest area,” Brewster wrote.

Brewster stopped trying to get the pole and moved toward Smith, who radioed that shots had been fired.

“At this time, the second dog began to charge Officer Smith in the same aggressive manner,” Brewster said. “Officer Smith again yelled, “Stop,” then discharged his service weapon, hitting the dog in what appeared to be the chest as this dog reached approximately 10 feet away from him.

The yellow/white dog appeared to be dead and wasn’t moving. The black and white dog was still moving, while the third dog had run away toward Buttonwoods, Brewster wrote in his report. The dogs’ owners later confirmed that the third dog had been returned home.

The account backs up Officer Smith’s report of events.

Smith reported that he arrived at Keeley Avenue to find Brewster attempting to capture the dogs as they came up Inez Avenue toward Keeley Avenue, and got out of his cruiser to approach the ACO as the dogs neared.

Smith reported that as Brewster got out of his vehicle and went to the passenger door, he saw the three dogs run toward Brewster, with one leaping past him and turning its head in an attempt to bite him.

According to Smith’s report, he began jogging back toward his cruiser, but was about 30 feet away from it when he realized the dogs would reach him before he could get to the cruiser, and halted. The dogs ran past him, toward the front of his cruiser and seemed about to continue down Keeley Avenue toward Buttonwoods Avenue when the dark gray dog turned around, paused, and started running toward him.

Smith reported that he yelled at the dog to stop and sit, but it didn’t heed him, and he backed away 10 steps and drew his pistol. The dog leaped at him from about four to six feet away, and he quickly scanned the area to make sure the public wasn’t endangered, according to his report, firing two rounds into the chest of the dog, disabling the dog.

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“I continued walking backward to avoid any confrontation with the other two dogs. The white dog appeared to be scared away by the gun shots and maintained his distance from me. The brown dog did stop to check on the darker gray dog which I had just shot. It took several sniffs of this dog directly on the wound, then began running at me,” Smith reported.

Smith wrote that the dog lunged at him in the same manner as the first dog, and he fired once, striking the dog in the center of its chest. The dog was also disabled, Smith reported.

The second dark gray dog, though mortally wounded, was still breathing and had managed to crawl a short distance away, according to the report. Gladue, who had arrived on the scene, asked for the officers to put the dog out of its misery. Smith consulted with Sgt. Charles Boisseau, who authorized euthanizing the dog. Smith then shot the dog again, aiming for the heart, but not striking the animal there. Smith’s next shot did strike the heart, according to the report, and the dog died after several minutes.

Police: Witness ‘incited’ crowd to yell at officers

According to Boisseau’s report, a woman, identified in a video of the incident posted to social media as “Jenny,” attempted to get between the officers and the dog, chastising the officers and telling Boisseau that pit bulls are a “misunderstood breed”.

Boisseau warned her not to interfere with the investigation, and she backed away about 50 feet, pointing her phone at the officers and recording them (the footage of which was later posted to social media). She also began shouting loudly that the dogs were running away from the officer and that there had been no reason to shoot them, inciting a small group of people to shout at the officers, according to Boisseau’s report.

Related stories:

WPD, Bystanders Post Videos Before, After Officer Shot, Killed Dogs

WPD: Dog Shooting Inquiry Looking At Eyewitness Reportedly in Line of Fire

WPD: Dog At Large After Officer Shoots, Kills Two of Trio

Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.