Animal Control Officer Investigated for Beating Senior Rescue Dog

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An Oregon animal control officer is under investigation after “allegedly” beating a swift water rescue dog so badly that she will lose her eye.  No one saw the beating, but witnesses saw officer Hoyt Stepp follow Dojie into her yard after she returned from an escape.  A fundraiser has been set up to help cover her medical costs, since Stepp obviously won’t be footing the bill.

On February 25th, Marlin Starr’s nine-year-old lab (mix) got out of her backyard while he was out and took herself for a walk.  The swift water rescue dog had the misfortune of having animal control officer Stepp respond to the call of there being two dogs barking in the street.

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Stepp claims that Dojie became aggressive with him, and he was forced to strike her with his baton.  But witnesses say neither dog was behaving aggressively, and ran back into their yard after being confronted by the officer in the street.

“At that point witnesses say the officers followed the dogs into the backyard,” Starr said.  “One witness told me, ‘your animals were perfectly fine until we could no longer see them.’”

Stepp left a note on Starr’s door to inform him that his dog “may have been injured.”  Dojie was beaten so severely that her right eye has to be removed.

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“It has already impacted her ability to be able to catch balls and sticks. I do not know how it will impact her ability to save lives on the river,” Starr said. “It’s incredibly tough, but I have an enormous support group surrounding me and that is growing every single day.”

Police say they are investigating the matter, and were aware at the time of Stepp’s instatement on the Washington County force just two months ago that he shot and killed a dog during an incident in Alaska in 2004.  He was cleared of any wrongdoing then, and Starr and Dojie’s supporters will be infuriated if this clear abuse of power is swept under the rug.

On Friday, Washington County issued a statement to inform the public that animal abuse of any kind will not be tolerated.

“We care deeply about the well-being of animals and the well-being of our community,” said Julie McCloud, a spokeswoman for the county.  “As with any incident that involves injury to an animal, we are reviewing the situation and looking at all the facts surrounding the incident.”

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Though Stepp claims Dojie was a danger and he felt threatened (oh man up, would ya?), Starr and others who have known Dojie for years say she is not an aggressive girl.

“I am outraged that an animal control officer would beat a dog and then only leave a note on the door saying ‘your dog might be injured,’” said Jen Cauthers.  “I personally know this dog. She is the sweetest, most lovable, and well-behaved dog that I’ve ever known. She has been around children and hundreds if not thousands of people in the public and mostly in the river community of the NW. This is not the first time Officer Hoyt Stepp has been investigated for animal abuse. We need to see that the law holds him accountable for his excessive use of force against this innocent service animal. JUSTICE FOR DOJIE!”

Jen and her husband Nathan are just two of many fighting to see that there will be justice for Dojie, who may never be able to perform as a rescue dog again.

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“I have personally known this dog since she was a puppy,” Nathan said.  “She is a swift water rescue dog and has had extensive training. She has never acted aggressively toward anyone ever!  I know she did not threaten Hoyt Stepp in any way. The most important details are:

“Mr. Stepp illegally trespassed onto Mr. Starr’s property and excessively beat this service animal!  The fact that she got out of her yard is not the point! The neighbors who witnessed this even told the officer that she had gone back onto her own property. All he had to do was close and lock the gate. There was no need for him to illegally enter the property or to beat her in the face!”

Starr is devastated by what happened to his beloved dog.  Everyone is hopeful that Dojie can recover from this trauma.  In the meantime, she is having nightmares; Starr hears her crying and whimpering in her sleep.

He has set up a fundraiser to help pay for the surgery, with any extra funds going to animal advocacy groups.  If you would like to contribute toward Dojie’s medical fund, please click here.

“She’s my baby,” Starr said.  “She’s my life, and I love her.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Animal Control Officer Investigated for Beating Senior Rescue Dog”

  1. Stepp is a psychopath who should have been fired the first time he stepped over the line. He is so obviously lying about this dog being a threat, and why would he follow the dogs into their own yard, why not just shut the gate?

    I do have a question about why the neighbors who were apparently watching did not check it out. The dog must have made a sound before she was beaten senseless by the monster. If this guy isn’t arrested, fired, and jailed, there is something real wrong going on. He’s an abuser and I doubt he stops with dogs.

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    • This must Stop! He belongs in Jail, never able to have any type of a job that puts him in any type of authority for animals or humans. Mandatory sentences without a lawyer able to plea bargain or Judge giving a lighter sentence. Animal Abuse IS Child/human Abuse. Never able to be around animals for Life!

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  2. Why didn’t he shut the gate behind the dog? This man needs to be fired he has a problem its obvious…

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  3. How did an animal abuser become an animal control officer??? Too bad the officer (and I use that term lightly) was not as well trained as the dog. Let’s hope this man (men do not beat defenseless animals or humans) gets fired quickly before he does more damage.

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  4. Well it sounds to me like another pathetic abuser gets a job where they can abuse their power. I really worry that the force will cover this up as they usually do. So Mr Starr should get a good attorney and sue the department and Stepp for as much as he can and since Dojie was a service dog and a valuable member of the community he should be able to sue for a good amount.

    Those on social media should get a picture of Stepp and post it with the words sadist, animal abuser so everyone knows who he is. One thing that we can do to stop this abuse is OUT them, so everyone knows so if there are others whom he has hurt, they can come forward to. Ideally he will lose his job and never work in this field again. With a successful lawsuit, perhaps he will lose even more than that!

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  5. That SOB needs his ass kicked. Someone who takes their unresolved anger out on a defenseless creatures is a chickenshit of a boy! Not a MAN. Just a pathetic BOY who has to compensate for his lack of power by picking on the defenseless and dependent. Castrate him now so he never reproduces!

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