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Baltimore police officer slashed dog's throat, authorities say

By Faith Karimi and Kevin Conlon, CNN
updated 7:31 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jeffrey Bolger was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty
  • Another officer had restrained the dog when her throat was cut, authorities say
  • Police spokesman: "It was a complete violation of protocol"

(CNN) -- A Baltimore police officer faces felony animal cruelty charges after he slit the throat of a dog that had escaped from home, authorities said.

Nala, a 7-year-old Chinese shar-pei breed, went missing Saturday from her home in Baltimore.

The same day, officers responded to a call that a dog had bitten a woman. The dog was Nala, whom police restrained using a pole around her neck, authorities said.

Shortly afterward, Officer Jeffrey Bolger cut Nala's throat with a knife, even though she was contained, according to police spokesman Eric Kowalczy.

She later died.

"It was a complete violation of protocol," Kowalczy said. "It's not often police speak out against one of their own, but we are all truly appalled."

Just before they got to the scene, Bolger was overheard saying, "I'm going to gut this (expletive) thing," according to charging documents.

Nala's owner, Sarah Gossard, said police did not give her details on how Nala died until Wednesday.

"She went missing Saturday and after looking for her all day, I found out through a neighbor that she was put down," she said.

"Police never contacted me until today. Only after did I find out more details. I learned from the news that she was stabbed in the throat. I want justice."

Gossard said Nala was not a violent dog.

"She was just scared that day and through all of those events -- scared and lost, thirsty, hungry," she told CNN affiliate WBAL. "Yes I'm very sure that she bit someone, but the actions after that were not OK."

Bolger has been with the Baltimore Police Department since 1992. He was suspended without pay, arrested and charged, the Police Department said.

The woman who was bitten suffered a puncture wound on her hand and is fine, Kowalczy said.

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