San Marcos Officer Paul Stephens Watches a Teacup Poodle Die in Owner’s Arm

By Garth O'Brien | August 16, 2008 
Filed Under OFF TOPIC

San Marcos, Texas. This story is very alarming, and will shock the average citizen to the core. Krystal Hernandez owned a sweet teacup poodle named Missy. Unfortunately, Missy was very ill and required immediate emergency care. Krystal and her boyfriend Michael Gonzalez jumped in the car and raced off to a veterinary hospital to save Missy.

Gonzalez navigated his vehicle onto Interstate 35 and reached speeds at high as 95 mph. Driving 95 mph on a public highway is extremely dangerous and should be reserved for a raceway in a secure and safe environment. Other drivers rely upon the fact that their fellow drivers will abide by the traffic regulations. This consistency and predictability creates the foundation that prevents accidents and mayhem on the roadway. Gonzalez clearly tossed out that predictability by careening down an interstate at 95 mph. However, there are situations that require an individual to break a rule because following the law might be more dangerous. For example, most drivers are given a “get out of jail free” card when racing to the hospital to preserve life or to transport a woman in labor. This does not preclude them from being issued a ticket for their actions, but you never hear of a police officer delaying such citizens on the side of the road.

It is too bad Gonzalez and Hernandez were not racing to save a human life. They were desperately trying to save Missy the teacup poodle. Unfortunately, San Marcos Police Officer Paul Stephens was on patrol that night. Stephens stopped Gonzalez and immediately launched into an investigation asking what Gonzalez was “on.” They explained their predicament, but it was clear that Stephens was going to detain them. Hernandez begged and pleaded for Missy’s life.

Stephens chillingly retorted, “Chill out, it’s just a dog, you can buy another one.” Stephens then took his sweet time in issuing a traffic citation. He even chatted with other officers that arrived on the scene. All the while Missy’s condition was declining. Instead of assisting the couple and helping to get Missy to a veterinary hospital he slowly enforced the law. He presented his traffic ticket to the couple 20 minutes later, but Missy had already died in her Hernandez’s lap.

I am distressed that a police officer has such a callous disposition toward life. That a police officer, sworn to serve and protect, can watch an animal die in the arms of their owner. An owner that is begging for help to save her cherished pet. Stephens soaked in the fear, the sadness and the helplessness of Hernandez and reveled in his position of authority. He knew a dog’s life was being extinguished and that he could have helped save that life. Instead he chooses to watch that life slip away.

Stephens could have driven the party or could have escorted Gonzalez and Hernandez to the animal hospital. While Missy was receiving treatment Stephens could have issued a speeding ticket to Gonzalez. However, having the power over citizens can be such a thrill, and being able to decide whether an animal lives or dies is quite powerful. “Chill out, it’s just a dog, you can buy another one.”

I wrote Police Chief Howard Williams explaining my concern about Stephens’ disregard for life. Howie responded with:

I appreciate your concerns. We, too, were disappointed in our officer’s behavior. He has been reprimanded, and he has been counseled on his behavior.

Howard E. Williams
Chief of Police
San Marcos Police Department
2300 IH-35 S
San Marcos, TX 78666
(512) 753-2100

I wonder what class Stephens attended to learn how to respect life? I wonder how that class miraculously taught Stephens to respect life in just a few hours or days? There is a reason police officers receive a psyche and behavioral evaluation during the hiring process. Many are washed out after this evaluation because they cannot manage the power and responsibility lawfully. Some get through the process like Stephens.

I wonder what the San Marcos K9 unit thinks about Stephens. I sure would not want my trusty german shepard working the same call as Stephens. If the K9 is shot or dies while taking down a suspect the handler can fall back on these comforting words, “Chill out, it’s just a dog, you can buy another one.”

Stephens should have been fired because this will not be the last blemish on Stephens’ glorious law enforcement career. You cannot teach someone to respect life in a class. The citizens of San Marcos should demand Stephens’ badge and gun are turned in permanently. Otherwise they should just chill out the next time he stumbles while on the job.

DUI Blog Comments

111 Responses to “San Marcos Officer Paul Stephens Watches a Teacup Poodle Die in Owner’s Arm”

  1. Steven Halpert on August 29th, 2008 2:42 pm

    YouGottaBeKiddingMe, would you give it a rest already. Obviously no one is going to convince you to move from your position, and you sure as hell won’t convince anyone on the other side to move from ours. I don’t think you’re capable of seeing both perspectives. I was an Assistant District Attorney for years both in Houston and in Maryland, so I’ve seen both perspectives. I won’t lie, when it comes to anyone doing anything to intentionally harm an animal or cause an animal to needlessly suffer or die, that individual now has an enemy. Since you can’t get past the fact that EVERYONE agrees Stephens had a right, correct that, a duty, to stop that vehicle, you aren’t capable of viewing what is really at issue here, and that is his actions AFTER the stop.
    There is no need for one of your patented snappy replies. My office is located at 917 Franklin, Suite 550, in downtown Houston. Anytime you want to come talk face to face, I’ll make sure I find some time for you. My information has always been public, can find it on the State Bar website. We really don’t know much about you, now do we.

  2. Tabitha Visco on August 31st, 2008 9:49 am

    People who say its just a dog, NO DOG is worth a human life, you seem to forget that God loves animals, humans and environment. We are supposed to protect, serve and save animals, TOO! Go and read the bible!

  3. Tabitha Visco on August 31st, 2008 10:28 am

    Hey, Stephen Halpert! I am so PROUD of you. I wanted to be like you. I have always been wanting to be a voice for animals. Dogs are my life is my daugther. People who judge you dont understand just yet. The day will come. God loves animals, humans and the environment. We are supposed to save, protect and serve ANIMALS, HUMANS and ENVIRONMENT. Just ingore people who say negative comments about you. I am on your side and Mistys owners, too. Keep up the GOOD WORK! I know God is proud of you!

  4. oldnavy on September 1st, 2008 7:42 pm

    Stephen,
    I have never been a big fan of politicians or lawyers but you are ok.

  5. Halpert's an ass.com on October 14th, 2008 2:34 am

    Halpert you have a deal.

  6. YouGottaBeKiddingMe on October 14th, 2008 2:42 am

    Just so everyone is aware of Halpert’s actual location. By the way, he’s not an ADA, he’s a criminal defense attorney. He helps CRIMINALS folks, Ms. Visco, the only thing God is proud of for this man is the occassional truely inocent person he tries. This one’s going straight to hell.

    Steven H. Halpert

    [Address removed by Washington State DUI Blog. We will not facilitate any retaliation for comments made on this blog. Having a heated discussion online is one thing, but we will not post personal identifying information of others without the express written consent of the person being identified.]

    Halpert, you said you wanted to be public? You got it.

  7. the food handler on October 20th, 2008 7:34 am

    yea its a sad story but all you people who say that he should die because that dog died are crazy. are you kidding? but as far as cops goes they do generally suck they are power hungry losers i dont think they should die for it though

  8. jk1043 on December 25th, 2008 2:08 pm

    If any of you people live in San Marcos, you already know how corrupt the police are. If it was a human life, he probably would have done the same thing. I wish nothing but hate and illness upon Officer Stephen’s entire family. I openly wish that he is put in the same situation, and that someone close to him dies. Fuck you Officer Stephens, and fuck the worthless “police dept.” of San Marcos, TX. Did you know that there are convicted rapists that were put on a “no hire” list, and that SMPD hired two of them? What a buch of ignorant bullies.

  9. Paul Brown on December 27th, 2008 4:20 pm

    His dumb, ignorant rookie ass should have got canned. If the mayor and chief of police had any decency and compassion towards any walk of life they would fire him with no chance of returning to the force. Make an example of this jerk, just this once, seriously.

  10. C on January 30th, 2009 12:19 am

    San marcos is 20 minutes away. the dog would not have made it anyways. I fully back the polic officer up. The guy was going 95+ mph. I-35 is a very croweded stressful road even at night. all the 18 wheelers drive on it and a lot of other travelers as well. It is also extremely dangerous to drive on. If i were driving on I-35 that night and this guy drove by me going 95+ mph i would have been glad to see him pulled over. It was unrealistic to ask the cop to follow him to the next town to issue him a speeding ticket. It was also reasonable that the cop questioned his sobriety, he was freaking out beyond what was necessary. I am a dog owner and would be crushed if my dog were to start choking, but I would blame my dogs death on the police officer that was doing his job. Police are not hired to insure the safety of tea cup poodles…they are hired to protect other peoples lives. and I think he has shown that in the video. In a perfect world the cop would have been able to let them go with out issuing them a ticket and trusted that they would have continued with out speeding but very unlikely. also the drivers state of mind was not the best for driving. I dont see how one can safely drive while being so histerical.

  11. Robin on March 6th, 2009 2:14 pm

    As as dog owner, I empathize with the owners but I don’t condone anyone speeding 95 mph any day to save their dog (essentially valuing your dog’s life over other peoples lives). On the other hand, the officer could have helped them out by writing them a quick ticket and sending them on their way. To force them to sit there while their dog died was simply sadistic. What a schmuck.