Kaufman County sheriff won't release outcome of investigation after deputy shoots family dog

The Kaufman County Sheriff's Office says it finished an investigation into whether a deputy acted properly when he shot and killed a dog while responding to a domestic call.

However, the sheriff’s office would not reveal whether that deputy was punished and is withholding the results from the public.

Body camera footage from the March 26 incident shows a Kaufman County sheriff’s deputy responding to a domestic call at a home off Joyce Road around 6:45 a.m.

Seconds after the deputy walked through the front gate, he identified himself before shooting the family’s dog after it jumped from a porch toward him. 

FOX 4 is choosing to not show the seconds after the shooting which reveal the dog’s screams.

Heather Thomas’ dog, Loki, died in the shooting. 

"I still have no closure," she said. "Nothing in my eyes is being done at all if they’re not letting me know anything."

In April, the sheriff’s office provided FOX 4 the body camera footage after we requested it. Not all departments make footage easily accessible. The sheriff’s office was being transparent. 

At the time, it told FOX 4 it was "conducting a thorough investigation to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident and will take appropriate actions, as necessary." 

The sheriff’s office is now refusing to release the outcome of its investigation.

"I really just would like the truth of what’s going on with the officer," Thomas said.

In a statement to FOX 4, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said "after a thorough investigation, the matter regarding the shooting incident involving a dog has concluded. However, we do not disclose disciplinary actions taken against employees. Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to upholding accountability and ensuring the safety and well-being of all involved parties."

Alex Del Carmen is associate dean of criminology at Tarleton State University. He says the sheriff’s office is not doing a good job at being transparent.

"You’re just interested in one thing, and that is what was the ultimate determination and what was the remedy provided. That’s it," he said. "There’s the right thing to do, the ethical thing to do. What police departments in the context of best practices should be doing. On the other hand is the legal component as to whether or not the lawyers that are working for that entity will allow them to do all of those things."

When FOX 4 asked again, a spokesperson said, "The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office will not be releasing any additional information regarding this incident due to possible legal litigation."

Thomas has not filed a lawsuit, but she has not ruled out doing so. 

"I have no official attorney at all," she said. "Nothing like that. Nothing."

Nothing will bring back her dog, but Thomas says she wants transparency. 

"If he’s having to take classes or something to learn to deal with these situations in the future, then good. Something would be done," she said.