Hoopa Tribal Police: Sadistic Behavior, Shoot Dog As Target Practice

The Miraculous Story of Rex

The Miraculous Story of Rex

Abused, Abandoned, Loved, and Shot by Local Police, Rex Survives

"...Rex would arrive about the same time as the students and make his rounds.  He greeted everyone with a dog grin and a tail wag.  He allowed the kids to play roughly, even kick him, and he never harmed anyone.... Rex had been taken off by the dispatcher to a wooded area.  There, he had been shot at with a handgun in what appears to be a target practice torture session.  This is a break away from past practices where dogs that bit someone were to be quarantined for ten days observation..."

Skippy Massey  Humboldt Sentinel  24 September 2012

The Hoopa Valley Tribal Police said the dog was a danger after it bit the hand of an officer and a complaint of it annoying and hurting children.  They intended to kill it, but the dog escaped with serious bullet wounds.  It miraculously returned back to the school and the only safe place it had known.

The story of Rex has upset and shocked staff and students at the Hoopa Valley Elementary School.  They tell quite a different story about Rex.  They say Rex was a loving and peaceful dog, a “friendly stray” who liked to play with children.

This is what happened.  It’s Rex’s story.

On September 11, the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police received a previous complaint that “Rex” had chased and bit children at the Hoopa Valley Elementary School.  When an “unidentified” officer tried to take the dog away from the school,
it bit him.

According to the Times-Standard news:

 Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Lt. Ed Guyer said the officer — who he declined to identify — was instructed by Hoopa Police Chief Robert Kane to take the animal up the hill behind the police station and shoot it.

”He took it up the hill, shot it, but didn’t hit it well enough,” Guyer said. “It wasn’t used as target practice or anything. We were attempting to put it down.”

The Time-Standard reported Rex survived– and returned to the Hoopa Valley Elementary School days and the students who loved him days later.

Heather Hobson, however, said Rex returned to the school within hours of surviving his horrific shooting.

Ms. Hobson, a teacher at the elementary school, has been trying to get the word out about Rex and what really transpired.

She wrote on September 18:

Rex, Black Lab Puppy Shot by Hoopa Tribal Police:  On the Hoopa reservation live many stray dogs.  Dogs there are rarely fixed and allowed to roam.  Other dogs are dumped along the river when owners from the city decide they no longer want them.  This adds to the population.  Rex is one of these dogs.

“Rex is about one-year-old and a black lab.  About three weeks ago he started visiting the elementary school.  Rex would arrive about the same time as the students and make his rounds.  He greeted everyone with a dog grin and a tail wag.  He allowed the kids to play roughly, even kick him, and he never harmed anyone.

“Then on September 11, that all changed.  Someone called the Hoopa Tribal Police.  According to the police the caller said the dog had bit someone, but that someone can’t be found, and there is no verification of this happening.   The dispatcher was sent to pick Rex up.

Later Rex returned to the school, his safe place.  He had two gun shot wounds through his jaw.  His lower jaw was shattered and most of his lower teeth knocked out.   His tongue had almost been completely severed.   He had been shot near his anus that
exited out his side leg.  Bullet graze-wounds ran along his back and
his legs.

“As a teacher rushed Rex to Sunny Brae Medical Center the story began to unfold. Rex had been taken off by the dispatcher to a wooded area.  There, he had been shot at with a handgun in what appears to be a target practice torture session.  This is a break away from past practices where dogs that bit someone were to be quarantined for ten days observation.

“How Rex managed to escape we will never know, but he did… This is not the first incident of dog torture on the reservation.  Several people have confided to me stories of animal torture by the Tribal Police going back as far as twenty years…

“What makes this even more disturbing is there is an animal rescue group on the reservation only about a mile from the school.  They are called the Greater Rural Rescue or GRR.  They would have taken Rex.

“… I and many others who work and/or live in Hoopa are disturbed by this.  I have been left filled with anger, disgust, and rage.  I want justice for Rex and for all that have suffered before him.

“All I want is justice and safety for the animals.  Pray for Rex. Pray for me.  Pray for the Hoopa people.  We all need it.

“PS:  The doctor was able to reattach Rex’s tongue.  He is now healing in a safe foster home.”
On Wednesday, September 19, Heather gave us a brief update on Rex eight days after being shot:
Rex’s story is getting out there. People are learning the truth. I thank all of you for what you have done and will be doing. Here are some more photos of Rex.  I will keep you posted on Rex’s story.

The following day, Thursday, September 20, Heather detailed Rex’s injuries of his grisly near-death encounter with the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police:

Rex, the Black Lab shot by Tribal Police in Hoopa:

I just received the photos and the vet report from Rex’s treating vet.  I want to cry again.  I’ll include the pertinent part of the report.  The vet prefers the photos aren’t shared.

The treating vet is Malcolm Richardson at Sunny Brae Animal Hospital.

Brief summary:  2 bullet wounds, one to the head, one to pelvic region, no
bullets remained in dog.

Head:  penetration from the lower mandible, fractured teeth lower mandible,
lacerated tongue, maxillary canine and first premolar fractured, exit upper
right lip.
Pelvic:  penetration near right anus, exit through left hip.

Heather gave us one final updated report this Saturday:

The story of Rex hit the paper today!
I am glad people are hearing about Rex and the abuse to animals by Tribal Police.
Alas, the reporter got some details in his article wrong. Rex was found hours after he was shot, not days.
The Two Rivers paper will have another article out on Tuesday.  That should have more details for all who are interested.

Rex is still mending.  He is going in to have his infected teeth removed on Monday, since the rest of his wounds are stable now.

I told my students on Friday part of what happened (they are too young for full details) because I felt it better they heard it from me and to give them a chance to talk and share feelings before it hit the paper.

One of my students claimed the dog as his and cried for the last 45 minutes of class. Four other students wrote about Rex and how he would lick their faces and play with them.

Rex is a very loved dog.

Apparently many others also agreed with Heather’s assessment.  “I’ve been trying to bring attention to the situation,” Hobson said to the Times-Standard.

“There is no way in the world the dog could be construed as vicious,” she said.  “Everyone is shocked.”

* * * * * * * *
Our appreciation goes out to Heather Hobson for sharing Rex’s information and photos with others and getting his story out for readers.  And to those who helped Rex, and the Sunny Brae Animal Clinic.

Our thanks also goes to uber-commentator Henchman Of Justice (HOJ), who first alerted us to this situation in his posts.

The Times-Standard’s story by Luke Ramseth is online– or you can wait for tomorrow’s paper.  Here’s the updated and well done Two Rivers news report released on Tuesday.

Heather has additional updates here and also here.

Heather, thank you.  Rex, we wish you the very best and a good recovery.  Yes, ol’ boy, you are a very lucky and loved dog.  Though you may not understand it, some people can be cruel at times.  Not all, just a few.  But there were also a few angels that were looking out after you, too, Rex.  Fortunately, you found them– by returning to the only safe place you ever knew.  We hope your future days will find you kindly treated and safe, in the loving home of the very same type of good people you so well deserve.

* * * * * * * *

A Dog’s Prayer:

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health, do not turn me away from you.

Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest–and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

~Beth Norman Harris