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. YogaforCynics on August 16th, 2008 10:22 am

    Clearly, in addition to his disregard for the life of an animal, the officer is a sadist toward other human beings who enjoys exercising the power his badge gives him to be gratuitously cruel. For that reason, even people who don’t care about animals should be concerned about this type of behavior from those sworn to “protect and serve.”

  2. John J Savo, the Authoring Auctioneer on August 16th, 2008 11:44 am

    What a bastard! Karma will kick him in the ass. You’re right. If I was the mayor of police chief of San Marcos, I would have fired him.

  3. karyn on August 16th, 2008 1:45 pm

    i have always hated cops all my life and im only 12 yrs young but when my sister called passed midnight crying about what happened! i was so pissed! i hate cops even more nbow i wish they were all sent to war and they ALL died!

  4. Louis on August 16th, 2008 2:29 pm

    Well, I can see why people are so upset about this, but I disagree with the interpretation the reporter uses to tell the story. First of all, the reporter wasn\’t there. It\’s pretty clear the reporter got information from the couple, who were clearly distraught and very susceptible to place blame and exaggerate, due to their emotional distress (we all do it after a stressful incident, it\’s only human after all.) From an objective point of view, I think the police officer acted responsibly. He did not know these people, or their situation. And a discussion with a couple who had just been pulled over for speeding, wouldn\’t convince me of anything if I were a cop. It would be nice if human beings could tell when eachother were being truthful or not, but the \”common sense argument\” doesn\’t apply here. The cop was being CAREFUL, and he was being thorough. Cops see a lot of brutal, foul shit on a regular basis. And within that, are numerous examples of people that seem legit on a first glance, but turn out to have meth or a gun under the seat, or are off their meds and may attack the cop, etc. Asking a man who has been racing down the road if he is on a drug is not a particularly unreasonable line of questioning, being as how many who are pulled over at night speeding, are in fact high. It\’s very easy to jump to judgement here, but it\’s safe to say these people were involved in an irregular situation -though it was certainly no fault of their own, and they certainly have my compassion: I\’d hate to have been in this situation. The cop was right to take his time and make sure his safety wasn\’t at risk (I\’m glad other officers arrived, and after all, no one was abused or insulted unduly, even in this exaggerated report of the situation, which none of us commenting here witnessed directly, I might remind), especially being as how these people, though they sound like good enough folks, were from the cops point of view, acting suspiciously (driving over the limit). Many tense and dangerous situations start by a cop stopping someone for speeding. It\’s too bad so many people left reactive, judgemental comments. Maybe the cop could have been nicer, but if you think about things from the point of view of his safety, which is frequently compromised in a working week, I\’m glad he was so cautious, because not being so could cost have him his life. Type in \”LA cop killings\” for a look at the recent brutality directed toward peace officers in Los Angeles. The recent run of cop killings started because the cops have been hitting organized crime money runnings, which are in involved in extortion, bribery, and murder of judges, prosecutors, etc. There\’s a much bigger picture to law enforcement civilian engagement procedure than 1 dead poodle, and I respect the protocol that keeps our public servants alive and safe.

  5. Randi on August 16th, 2008 4:20 pm

    The Cop disgusts me. He should have let the couple get to the pet hospital then write up whatever ticket was needed. It just proves that this cop is a control freak and is devoid of feelings for anything

  6. respect forlife on August 16th, 2008 5:19 pm

    I hope the writer of the article is not referred to as a journalist. How dare you pretend to inform the public by getting so many facts wrong. I am guessing there was no research involved before the story was written. How wonderful are you to cast such judgment and to print a story which half of it is false. As far as what class Stephens took to learn respect for life, I believe they call it the U.S. Military. I am sure someone that saw everyone in his platoon die, left the sole survivor probably knows nothing about the value of life. Now I ask who is more uncaring the person that makes an insensitive statement, or the person that does not know what he is talking about writing a story slamming someone else.

  7. Garth O'Brien on August 16th, 2008 6:32 pm

    Respectforlife,

    I relied upon news articles to write this piece. If facts are missing please feel free to add to this story.

    Being in the US military is not a sure fire way to teach someone to value life. Of course a majority of the soldiers probably value life more than anyone, but there are very interesting reads on military training.

    Pick up a coy of “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” by Dave Grossman. It discusses how the military teaches their soldiers how to kill another human.

  8. Chris on August 16th, 2008 8:11 pm

    Its JUST a speeding ticket. PLEASE. Why are Texas cops so obsessed about speeding. I am amazed about the double-standards some ignorant people have. Under different circumstances, psychologists would be clamoring that animal killing is usually the prerequisite for becoming a serial killer. And to think this individual is permitted to carry and use a weapon! Biblical justice would call for this officer to be hurt one day and have his ambulance not exceed the speed limit. Maybe he might think differently as he spends his last moments waiting for a summons. After all, the academy has plenty of replacements. But, on a more human note, I hope he thinks of this poor animal every time he gives one of his fellow officers a pass on a traffic violation.

  9. Rebecca on August 17th, 2008 6:27 am

    I am a dog owner and a dog lover, and I think it’s sad that this dog died on the way to the animal hospital.

    But I notice that you’re not placing any of the blame on the driver who was exceeding the speed limit to get the hospital. He endangered the lives of everyone around him and had he not been driving recklessly, he wouldn’t haven’t been stopped in the first place, and wouldn’t have been delayed in getting to the hospital.

    You have to ask yourself, had your family or loved ones been killed by this man speeding to the vet hospital for his dog, would you have been as sympathetic?

  10. Garth O'Brien on August 17th, 2008 8:38 am

    Rebecca,

    I never wrote Gonzalez was free from blame or being cited. The officer could have issued a ticket within 5 minutes. The officer could have instructed Gonzalez to obey the speed limit and followed Gonzalez and then issued a ticket at the vet.

    Telling the distraught couple to chill out and then keep them there for over 20 minutes was not the right solution if he valued life.

    This was not written to defend Gonzalez. It was written because an officer should not abuse his power granted by the government, and a police officer should not be so callous toward any life.

    If Gonzalez was under the influence, then Stephens could have detained Gonzalez and let Hernandez drive her dog to the vet. Stephens gets his arrest and Hernandez gets a chance to save her dog. There are many scenarios that could have been explored that would have placed Stephens in a much better light while enforcing the law against Gonzalez.

  11. Billy on August 17th, 2008 10:53 am

    This is shocking, he should be fired. That would fall under animal cruelty wouldn’t it to just let the dog die when it could been saved?

    I know someone who was in this position, when she was younger her dad rushed their pet to the vet and got pulled over on the way, she said when the cop came up he simply told him that he was on the way to the vet for his dog, if he wanted to give him a ticket he could either be in front and clear traffic or chase him there…So they got the service of him clearing the path.

    A year or two ago there was a police officer who shot a dog which was inside one of those electric fences and collar, several years ago a police officer shot a puppy or a kitten in front of several children (2 of my nephews were there).

    It’s to a point we are wondering if we can honestly trust police anymore, what if the next time it’s not “just a dog”?

  12. BillH on August 17th, 2008 11:39 am

    We depend on police officers for help as well as enforcing the laws. Clearly, Gonzales broke a law, but who wouldn’t be in a rush to get help in a life threatening emergency? The officer should have escorted them to the hospital and then given them a ticket. The officer clearly does not care about helping a member of the commumity with comments like “You can get another dog”. An officer with that kind of attitude should be dismissed.

  13. Timothy on August 17th, 2008 3:01 pm

    Clearly this cop is a sadist and revels in causing others pain and sorrow. Sure the driver was wrong to speed but I wonder, given the couple last names if they were not held back because of the color of their skin and not for their crime.

  14. christine on August 18th, 2008 3:38 am

    I’m sure they will just “sweep this under the rug”. What a shame. What a piece of work that cop is! He needs more than a slap on the wrist.
    No regard for a life. Hope he has no kids.

  15. ptgirl on August 18th, 2008 4:07 am

    95mph is excessive, careless and dangerous. There is NO reason for that. We freak out when the cops get carried away with high speed chases, especially when innocent people get hurt. Now what if this guy would have hit someone, killed a family, hit a dog even, would everyone still be hollerin’ about regard for life then? I can clearly see the cop was being a complete and total jackass but he was also doing his job, maybe he took so long to give the driver time to compose himself (that’s a big maybe). Try thinking of what everyone would be saying if he had let them go on, or (gasp) given them that police escort and something (more) tragic had happened from high speed.

  16. Rebecca on August 18th, 2008 4:13 am

    Granted, the officer should have handled the situation with courtesy and respect, but the fact still remains that the driver would never encountered him had he been obeying the law. He, in fact, caused his own delay.

    While you may not have meant to defend Gonzalez, the slant of the article is these poor dog folks vs. the big bad rude cop.

    In the end, people say they want cops to do their jobs, BUT only the way *they* think they should be done.

  17. Cindy Anderson on August 18th, 2008 5:10 am

    They caught Stephans on VIDEO saying “It’s just a dog, you can get another one!”
    This is pretty black and white. We are not left to wonder what the officers intentions were, HE IS ON VIDEO…
    I am very pro police as I am partnered to an HPD officer…who would have immediately escorted the couple with their dog to the nearest vet.
    This officers behavior was unforgivable.
    Cindy

  18. richard on August 18th, 2008 11:50 am

    Officer Stephens may think that puppy was just a dog, but I will tell you that they become a part of your family just like people. In fact, often closer that the people in your family. They love and trust unconditionally.

    He may think its just a dog, but I KNOW that cop is just a PIG.

  19. CARI on August 18th, 2008 2:18 pm

    That cop is a disgusting piece of garbage. He has no respect. His family should be mortified and embarrassed by what he did to those poor people. Hopefully bad-carma doesnt come back and hit him in the face!!

  20. Courtney on August 18th, 2008 3:17 pm

    Thanks for writing about this and providing the Chief of Police’s address. I too will be writing to voice my concern over not only this officer’s appalling behavior but also the department’s lack of concern in simply slapping him on the wrist and saying it was a ‘rookie mistake”. This only condones his behavior. My heart goes out to the girl who lost her dog. I can only imagine sitting in that car for those twenty minutes watching her dog die in her arms. Heartbreaking.

  21. Marilyn on August 18th, 2008 4:19 pm

    If you think this officer should be fired, please sign the petition here:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/fire-san-marcos-police-officer-paul-stephens

    Thanks!

  22. amy on August 18th, 2008 7:19 pm

    Unfortunately this is a sad topic to even be discussing. Police officers must always be on guard. They put their lives at risk everyday for people who they do not even know. But it still comes down to the fact that they are here to PROTECT AND SERVE… not hand out tickets to desperate people.

  23. Tony Schiozzi Retired Sgt NYPD on August 18th, 2008 8:31 pm

    this officer in this case is nothing more than a ASSHOLE.I am so sorry to the owners of that poor dog.Trust me all cops are not like this.

  24. Noelle on August 18th, 2008 10:31 pm

    Clearly those of you who feel that the driver in this case was the bad one and the cops were the good ones don’t need to be having children or animals as pets. Yes, they were speeding and I’m not saying that that was right but under the circumstances, I do feel they were justified in doing so. What I do disagree with on this whole situation was how the cops reacted to the situation. Telling the owners they could get a new dog and to “chill Out” would be a good entry in a “How to be an ass for dummies” book. For some people, myself included, animals are our children. How would you respond to this if it was an actual human child that died because of this cop’s negligence? Would you want to have this cop look at you and say “Chill out, it’s only a child, you can breed a new one”? I feel whatever punishment this cop gets should be something akin to what would happen to him if this were an actual human. Getting fired would be the least of his problems. So the next time someone goes to jail for animal cruelty, think back on this story. What that cop did was cruelty in it’s worst form and I applaud the owners for trying to save a life. This police department is going to be lucky if it doesn’t get sued. If this were me, I would.

  25. This weeks Idiot: San Marcos Officer Paul Stephens | Blogging about stuff on August 18th, 2008 10:45 pm

    […] Everyone interested in reading the full article about this story please visit this site and leave your comments. http://blog.seattle-duiattorney.com/archives/377 […]

  26. Wow on August 19th, 2008 12:42 am

    everyone who is sympathetic to that cop on a power trp need to see the video before defending him at all. It’s on yahoo’s main page

  27. Dave on August 19th, 2008 2:10 am

    True that the driving jeopardized other drivers but Officer Paul Stephens most certainly has an authority complex and is a perfect example of your “bad cop”. It is officers like Paul Stephens that give your decent hardworking officers a bad name. Paul Stephens is detrimental to the promotion of respect by American citizens.

  28. emily morelli on August 19th, 2008 4:44 am

    Please Google: “Petition fire san marcos officer stephens” and add your name.

  29. debbie on August 19th, 2008 4:50 am

    as a parent to 2 children and 3 dogs I have to say I’m appalled at the way the cop handled the situation…obviously not an animal lover or never had a dog, or had a dog and it was tied up outside 24/7 southern style…rebecca has a point..how would someone feel if their family was killed by this speeding driver…BUT the cop really should’ve escorted or drove them to the vet..to let the animal die like that is wrong and akin to animal abuse..but hey, it’s a part of the country where there are kill shelters, and drop boxes for animals to be slaughtered like lambs…what do you expect?

  30. Xeniya on August 19th, 2008 6:08 am

    This so called officer of the peace is a sadist and should be FIRED IMMIDIATELY. Where are the anilmal groups ?

  31. Nancy on August 19th, 2008 8:53 am

    If that was me and my dog… that cop would be dead.

  32. TW on August 19th, 2008 9:12 am

    Michael, the driver, in interviews admits that he was speeding during an emergency and takes responsibilty for his actions. He has no problem with the officer stopping him for speeding. The problem is the officer’s abusive behavior and intentional delay once the traffic stop is made. It appears there may be a pattern of abuse from this officer and he should not be able to “protect and serve” any community. Please sign the petition. The link to the petition is in one of the above comments. This behavior is scary and should not be tolerated.

  33. TinH on August 19th, 2008 11:37 am

    We as a community hire our police officers to protect and serve our community. These officers work for us to protect and enforce the values of our community as codified in its laws. It is an admirable, honorable, and often difficult, thankless job, but too often officers like this one abuse the power with which we entrust them by bullying the community and even breaking the very laws they are sworn to enforce and uphold. This officer’s complete lack of respect for the members of his community are evident in this small snapshot of the way he uses the power which which they have entrusted him. The officer certainly had every reason to stop the car initially, but he also had every opportunity to respond appropriately to the emergency when he discovered the cause for the driver’s speed (it is legal in Texas to exceed the speed limit when a higher speed is warranted by emergency circumstances). The situation was only made worse by the officer’s complete lack of tact and decorum in suggesting that the driver could “get another dog.” To a devoted pet owner whose dog is a member of my family, I view the loss of this dog as a terrible tragedy. The chance that the dog’s death could have been avoided but for this officer’s actions makes the situation even more tragic. The officer might suggest that he is only trying to do his job. What the officer has actually done is build further distrust and distance between the police department and the community it is supposed to be serving, a growing problem in a community that the police department will find less and less willing to assist them in the field, the jury room, and the ballot box. I would suggest, using the officer’s own words, that perhaps the community and its police department can “find another officer.”

  34. Steven Halpert on August 19th, 2008 3:16 pm

    Not sure how much play this will get in Texas, where I practice as a criminal defense lawyer, but here goes.
    Dogs are my life. Having made the decision not to have children (the incorrigible kind), I decided to have the furry, wonderfully forgiving and unconditionally loving kind. I am a Lab guy, always have been. I volunteer with Lab Rescue in Houston, who have been so kind as to provide me with my latest child, a 93 pound beast named Cash who was set to be euthanized in a Harris County kill shelter.
    We just endured the horrific and cowardly act by gestapo officers of the Prince George’s County (Maryland, where I was born and raised) Police who shot and killed two black Labrador Retrievers while illegally executing a search warrant at the home of the Berwyn Heights mayor who the police mistakenly believed were involved in the drug trade.
    Now this, and my blood is boiling. I will defend FOR FREE any person who is charged with any criminal act in Houston that involves that citizen exercising his or her absolute right to protect his or her dog in the face of an attack or a failure by a person in authority to exercise due care. In English: I am a licensed concealed handgun holder in the state of Texas. If I was driving my beloved companion to the emergency vet to save his life, and after explaining this to a police officer who failed to understand or care what I was attempting to do, I can assure you I would have continued my drive to the vet, unimpeded by this now-prone mental midget in a uniform. Authority need only be respected when it is not oppressive. While I do not advocate violence against peace officers, I do advocate any citizen doing whatever is necessary to preserve the life of his or her loved one. When an officer pulls over an individual, and learns within seconds that the individual has an emergency, that officer has no other obligation but to determine the nature of the emergency and help resolve it. Giving the officer a driver’s license ensures that the officer can decide later if he wants to file any appropriate charge. This officer, who I would like to personally knock every single one of his teeth straight back into his throat, transformed his role from peace officer to God in the span of several minutes. He quickly decided he was going to decide whether this poor suffering 3lb powderpuff was going to die, and what should scare every one of you, he did it with such ease and callousness, like picking out his favorite donut behind the shiny glass case.
    Had this poor college student, after pleading and pleading with this callous SOB for minutes, pulled out a handgun and blasted this sorry excuse for a peace officer, he would have been totally justified under the circumstances. You don’t get the right to say, “it was only a dog.” If you want to play the self-righteous game, just pretend it was your child in the car (which by the way, there are numerous documented cases in this country where in fact it was a human in need of emergency treatment, only to die at the hands of similar Nazi in a uniform), then see what your reaction would be. And if you think a dog has less status than a human, chew on this for a while: In Texas, it is a state jail felony to abuse an animal. It is only a Class A Misdemeanor to Assault your family member.
    I’ll put my money where my mouth is: Steven Halpert, Attorney at Law, 713-222-2590. People can defend themselves, animals cannot.

  35. MW on August 19th, 2008 10:40 pm

    Dear Mr. Halpert,

    I am the proud owner of six beautiful dogs. Everyone who knows me can tell you that I will do just about anything to keep them safe. It makes me so happy that you, a lawyer, will help someone out who might not otherwise be able to afford representation. I hope that the city of San Marcos fires this horrible officer and sincerely wish that he will be so ashamed of what he did that he will leave the state of Texas. It’s embarrassing to know that San Marcos made national headlines because of this moron. I hope that you will be able to give the poor couple who lost their precious poodle advice if they choose to file charges against the idiot cop and the city of San Marcos. It’s good to know that you provide those expensive services to those who cannot afford much, and I guess that I just really wanted to say “Thank You” for being the voice of innocent animals.

  36. Carmen on August 20th, 2008 6:28 am

    How disgusting. Well, what do you expect? Some of these guys wear the uniform, but they know nothing about upholding the moral code. You, a law abiding citizen, are treated as a criminal and criminals are given more respect from the law. That poor little sweet dog. That “officer” will reap what he sows. Evil never prospers. RIP Missy and watch out Stephens.

  37. TG on August 20th, 2008 7:59 am

    This is a very sad story indeed. However, one really must look at the situation as a whole.
    Needless to say; police officers have a difficult and dangerous job. My family knows this first hand. My brother-in-law was killed in the line of duty. He was shot at point blank range during a “routine traffic stop” he was only 38 at the time he was killed and he left behind two kids and made my sister a widow. True, the officers’ comment about “it’s just a dog” was harsh and he should have a verbal reprimand and perhaps attend sensitivity training. But driving over 100 mph while talking on the cell phone could’ve cause serious human injury and/or death (perhaps to a child….maybe yours?) if that drive lost control of his vehicle (which could have happened very easily at that rate of speed and how emotional he was as evident by his behavior as seen on the video). Also, the driver is really lucky to be alive by the way he jumped out of his vehicle. I had a chance to see the non-edited video and all-in-all this was a no win situation for nobody.
    I just wish somehow none of the events even happened.

  38. Austin Girl on August 20th, 2008 8:16 am

    Missy the teacup poodle was not “just a dog” to their owners. There is emotional attachment and bonding, which obviously based on the insensitive officer’s actions and callous dialogue, he could not comprehend. I am deeply saddened to hear about Missy. My heart goes out to her owners.

    The officer needs to be more educated in social skills and empathy towards the people and community he has been hired to serve and protect.

  39. Hazel Chambers on August 20th, 2008 9:15 am

    Sounds like this so-called officer has his friends writing excuses for his inexcusable behavior….like Louis and the nonsense he is using to excuse simple goonish behavior.

    How do you excuse his remarks…and his delay?

    He had other options and chose instead to use his authority to possibly cause the dog to die and break the hearts of the owner.

    We do not need people like him wearing a badge.

  40. Tracy Riggs on August 20th, 2008 12:16 pm

    As evidenced by a number of character flaws, this “officer” is clearly not “public servant” material and should be fired over this very disturbing incident. Paul Stephens’ clearly abused his authority while exercising poor judgment in handling this situation. He had several “win-win” options in handling the speeding offense – yet he deliberately chose to make the WORST of it for all involved. While the owners had NO other choice than to speed in order to save their dog’s LIFE – they at least respected the law enough to STOP for this officer. Stephen’s, in turn, respected NOTHING about this situation, much less serving and protecting anyone or anything in the process. The poor dog DIED due to Stephen’s negligence, and I would personally never trust such an “officer” to serve or protect ME in ANY situation. His pathetic behavior should not only be punished by dismissal, but should also serve as a valuable lesson in how NOT to dismiss the value of a life! I respect the law and I love animals – but the lesson I have learned from this episode of BAD judgment by a cop is NOT TO EVER STOP FOR ONE if I am rushing any of MY pets or family to receive emergency medical care!!!

    To Chief Howard Williams: Get rid of Stephens; cops like him are a dime a dozen anyway! And to the Mayor: Take responsibility for this if your police chief refuses. Meantime, my family and business associates will be avoiding future trips/commerce in San Marcos until this matter is dealt with accordingly.

  41. cordandme on August 20th, 2008 3:13 pm

    I believe a pet ambulance service is necessary for the sake’s of animal’s life!

    I totally agree with the author. The couple should get a ticket. But Stephens should be charged with Animal Cruelty. Watching a dog dying should be considered as a cruelty as well!!

  42. Luke Davidson on August 20th, 2008 3:47 pm

    Awful not of hate flying around concerning this incident. While I agree the officer in question has some serious issues that need to be dealt with, I’m not sure firing him is the answer. That would likely lead to him hiring on somewhere as a deputy and learning nothing from the experience. 500-1000 hours of community service at a PAWS or the humane society might actually be more appropriate. There he would not be an authority figure and would be monitered by people who do care about animals. At least there would be a chance he might come away a more compassionate and understanding individual. Truthfully, all he’s guilty of is insensitivity, and last time I checked, there are no laws against just being a jerk. Having said that, had I been pulled over for driving say 70 in a 55 mph zone and had the officer ask, “do you know how many officers die anually because of reckless drivers like you?” and I responded “yeah, but thousands of you come out of the academy a year, we’ll just get another”. Care to venture a guess how my evening would end?
    I’ve lived in and around San Marcos for close to 10 years now, this is one of the minor incidents involving their officers, and to my knowledge little has ever been done in the way of reprimands, even when a human life was the cost. I’ve known many good officers over the years, and it’s unfortunate the actions of a few thoughtless individuals hurts those that are undeserving of blame, but it’s how they view the common citizen so I suppose turnabouts fair play. Rather than dwelling on the animal which in all likelihood would not have survived the trip anyway(choking to death doesn’t take 20 minutes)consider this. Will it be different when it’s your child or other loved one requiring medical aid?
    The police are supposed to be civil servants, just as our elected officials are, sadly we have little influence over either and power as a rule tends to corrupt.

  43. Carolyn on August 20th, 2008 4:01 pm

    This is the most disgusting article I’ve ever seen. This officer should be fired for his total disregard to life. This was animal cruelty at its worst.

  44. Deb on August 20th, 2008 6:33 pm

    The \”officer\’s\” (I use this word as a title and not out of respect)response and reaction in this situation is absolutely implorable and unaccpetable. I agree that the community that pays his salary should request his dismissal. I would not trust this man to properly respond in any circumstance, minor or life threatening. Not everyone is an animal lover but that does not justify his actions. His badge does not give him the right to impose his feelings on others. There was clearly a situation at hand that had to be evaluated and handled as safely, expediently and courtiously as possible. He failed in all three catagories ! Evaluating and responding properly or at the very least ATTEMPTING to respond properly to situations to ensure the best possible outcome for all IS what his job IS ! That could mean saving lives, taking lives, or writing a speeding ticket. The actions of the driver caused the officer to stop him but the actions of the driver did not cause the officer to handle the situation in such a irresponsible manner. He made extreemely radical and poor choices all on his own. My comments are based soley on the audio/vidio from the officers unit. I am thankful for the law enforcement officers that risk their lives to serve and protect our communities without such an errogant mightier than thou attitude.

  45. Fishy on August 21st, 2008 4:22 am

    The same thing happened to me when my goldfish got sick. But we were only doing 85 mph when the trooper pulled us over.
    We sued and we were awarded 3.7 million dollars. Now we have three goldfish and a bigger tank.

  46. Marilyn on August 21st, 2008 8:12 am

    There’s now a FIRE THE CHIEF petition, too:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/fire-san-marcos-police-chief-howard-williams#signatures

    You back up a clod like Stephens and you are just as bad as he is. Please pass this petition on–it was just put up and hasn’t been publicized.

  47. VIKI LINTHICUM on August 21st, 2008 11:41 am

    fire the jerk!!!!

  48. Sio on August 21st, 2008 12:20 pm

    This is clear demonstration that the cop system (I WILL not call them “police”) needs reformation. Damn near every single cop in this state is a disgusting pile of excrement. I don’t wish for violence against most people, but I sincerely hope that while Mr. Stephens is being driven to the hospital by a friend after he’s been mortally wounded (god willing), they get pulled over, and when his friend starts pleading for his life, the cop says “the world’s overpopulated, chill out.”

    That’s about as much as this piece of crap deserves.

  49. MW on August 21st, 2008 2:44 pm

    First of all, none of you were there. Most of the videos posted have been edited. Also, none of you know Paul. If you are pissed and calling him an animal killer, then sending him death threats what does that make you? It is a sad story, and my heart goes out to the people who lost their dog, but why was he given a bone that he could choke on in the first place? None of you have even considered this is as much the owners fault as anyones. I also noticed that it has not been documented here that the couple pulled over then took off again. So technically this started out as a police chase. The car could’ve been stolen, the guy could have been high, he could have had a gun, he could have killed someone by driving that way, and etc. You have to be very cautious as a cop. It is really sad that by doing your job and protecting PEOPLE, you receive death threats. Put yourself in his shoes, and do not be swayed by two people trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  50. YouGottaBeKiddiingMe on August 21st, 2008 3:59 pm

    I love dogs as much as the next person, but get real. In the eyes of the law a dog is a possetion. Hernandez was the one who chose to drive irratically, risking others lives to save a dog. I don’t condone the comments made by this officer, but anyone who is choosing to condemn him needs to get a life. Spend one day in a police officers shoes & you might understand his lack of patience for one more idiot on the road. I drive these same streets of & I choose not to let an idiot who’s trying to save a damn dog hurt me or my child. I tell you what, had she hit my vehicle & injured my child, you can better bet I would have snapped the dogs neck myself. If it was that bad off that 20 minutes meant life or death it needed to be put down anyway.

  51. Keith on August 21st, 2008 5:24 pm

    I’m a paramedic and I agree the comments of the officier was unappropriate and unproffessional. But clearly ambulances and emergency vehicles are allowed to exceed the primary facia speed limit as to they demain appropriate for the situtation so long as we (emergency vehicle) are not endangering property or the life of others. With this being said we have lights and sirens on the ambulance and the general public still ignores this and it creatates potential for a very dangerous situtation, so an unmarked car at this time would really cause a threat to kill someone or the people operating this vehicle, and it is the officiers job to protect the public and the public from themselves when not making good clear judgement calls, and being a emergency vehicle driver trainer, an escort of an unmarked vehicle is one of the most dangerous things the officier could have done!!!! People would have been wanting to fry this officier if he would have given an escort and other vehicle operators would have seen the patrol car with lights go through an intersection and then pulled in the path of the vehicle being escort possible causing catostropic outcome!!! death for multiple people possible!!! And probably the dog!!! And then what if it was your family someone had broke into your house being held at gun piont and this officier was 2 blocks away but escorting or driving this family and dog to the vet you or your children got shoot and you found out this officier was escorting a dog to the vet, again everyone is sue happy besides lossing your life or family because he was rushing this dog to the vet!!! Again walk a mile in someones shoes before you judge them. Again I wish he would have been more compasionate to the needs of this family and not made the comments he did!! But I have been in those situtations where a decision has to be made and either way seems like a lose, lose situtation but have to make a decission as to whats best for a majority!!

  52. think with common sense on August 21st, 2008 8:08 pm

    I for one I’m in support of the cop. I love dogs but I would never put the life of a dog at the same level of a human. If it was such an emergency then call an ambulance, oh yeah, there is no animal ambulance, I wonder why? Stop saying dogs are like kids, because as far I know, you can’t buy a kid at a store.
    I do agree that the cop could’ve been more sensitive, but it complete make sense what he said “at the rate you are driving you are putting everyone else’s life at danger.” Even his own family was in danger. That guy was in no condition to be driving, and at the same time talking on his cell phone. And look at him, his bipolar, certainly not the best person to be driving at 100mph. If he would have crashed into someone else, then everyone else in here would be saying, “all that for a dog.” I doubt that anyone in here would be ok with him crashing into your family and possibly killing one of your kids just to save an animal.

  53. Ken Kopp in Montana on August 21st, 2008 11:42 pm

    Could this grunt Stephens has recently returned from Iraq. Maybe he needs treatment for PTSD. Could he be the soldier recently shown on CNN and FOX laughing as he tossed a puppy over a cliff in Iraq? Would a non-Hispanic driver received the same treatment? K Kopp/MT

  54. rodster- pa. on August 22nd, 2008 5:47 am

    i am a dog lover. but,i feel 95mph was a bit excessive to be heading for the puppy e.r. just the same, his lack of compassion was inexcuseable. and id guarantee, that if that pooch had been a K-9 animal. the officer would have done 100mph getting his own animal there.

  55. Pat on August 22nd, 2008 6:11 am

    My husband and I was infuriated when we saw this on the news Friday 8/22/08. That COP ( and I use that term for “police officers” that I don’t respect) is an ego maniac that likes to play god!Why could he and his partner not give an escort to the Vet or put the dog in his car and take it to the Vet with benefit of flashing lights/siren. You know why. Because he DID NOT CARE! He is obviously not a pet owner not does he have a heart. I think he should be let go and forced to do community service with the local ASPCA chapter. I would say give the couple a ticket, if the COP had helped them try to save their beloved pet, however, I think that they have paid enough for their crime of speeding. My husband and I do not have children, we do have 2 cats and a dog. For those of us that can’t have children or choose to have pets instead, our pets are loved like children. I doubt that COP would think twice about speeding if he thought there was not other way to get to his lunch break fast enough.

  56. Didi on August 22nd, 2008 7:06 am

    Nice poodle.I hope one here

  57. Please sign the petition - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community on August 22nd, 2008 7:48 am

    […] to the full story and also a link to sign a petition to have Officer Stephens fired. News Story: http://blog.seattle-duiattorney.com/archives/377 Petition: […]

  58. Me on August 22nd, 2008 8:58 am

    What would you folks be saying if the driver crashed and killed someone? I bet you’d be saying “where were the police?” Get real folks…Please! Our emergency folks have a tough job. Look how many died on 9/11……Remember? Or how many get shot doing a job you don’t have the balls to do!
    by-the-way teacup dogs are mill dogs about 3 die for one of those designer breeds! ’nuff said!

  59. Luke Davidson on August 22nd, 2008 9:38 am

    As a San Marcos resident I can say in all honesty that our Police Dept. leaves alot to be desired, and to Ken Kopp, race has little to do with anything in San Marcos. The police do an equally shoddy job for everyone. This isn’t localized to our town folks, read the paper, watch the news. Police abuse power everywhere even you home towns. I wish I could say this is the worst I’ve seen, but it isn’t. And just for the record, if the dog was choking as is said, it wouldn’t have survived the 20-30 minute trip to New Braunfels. The cop was wrong, the fact that San Marcos PD waived the ticket is proof enough of that, but had that couple killed somebody in the course of their trip who would you blame. The dog? The couple? Or is it still that damn cop’s fault. Rest assured, you hit my vehicle and injure my wife or daughter through reckless driving, you better have “someone” dying in that vehicle or you’ll be praying for the cops to arrive. Human life ultimately has to outweigh a pet’s, no matter how beloved it is.

  60. dA TRUTH on August 22nd, 2008 9:58 am

    AVOID “TEACUP” Dogs

  61. Garth O'Brien on August 22nd, 2008 10:40 am

    So many extreme opinions have been expressed over this issue. Hypothetical situations spur disdain for Gonzalez, and others are calling for the officer’s head.

    Had Stephen’s acted professionally, and issued a ticket in a timely manner this story would never have surfaced. As a former prosecuting attorney I have been on many ride-alongs with the police. I also have many friends and relatives currently working as police.

    Police do need to investigate, but given what is known, Stephens should have issued his ticket and given a warning that Gonzalez must obey the speed limit and that the rest of San Marcos PD would be watching for him.

    People that speed are given a ticket and a fine. They should not be detained for such a long time to be taught a lesson. It is not the officer’s job to teach Gonzalez a lesson. That is a magistrate’s job.

    Speeding at 90 mph or even 100 mph in a 60, 65 or 70 mph zone is not a crime. It is a traffic code violation. Even if it were a crime, the officer could have let Hernandez take the vehicle and drive her dog to the vet. Gonzalez could have then taken a ride in the backseat of the patrol car.

    Stephens could have handled the stop differently that would have punished Gonzalez, but would have given Hernandez the ability to try and save her dog. In that hypothetical everyone that commented here would have won. Neither side won with his selected course of action.

  62. LaDonna on August 22nd, 2008 11:46 am

    I am disgusted at this police officer. I am so heartbroken and feel so badly for the couple who lost this beautiful little dog. Don’t you know they saw the office and figured he may give them an escort to the emergency facility, but instead he allowed this animal to die. I know now, that if this should happen to me, i will not stop until I reach medical attention for my pet. These poor people have to live with the last moments of that little dog dying and they are helpless. I dispise this police officer.

  63. Randall on August 22nd, 2008 12:12 pm

    Look I’m a pet owner and love my cat dearly but the fact is he was driving fast and erratically, was pulled over and asked to move. He threw a fit slamming on the gas until he felt like pulling over yet again. This is soooo inappropriate and deplorable behavior by Mr. Gonzalez. He has no right to risk countless lives on the road over a dog. He claims the dog is like a child.. well Mr. go get a real kid and then you can get an ambulance next time. There wouldn’t be such an outcry if he had caused an accident. He’d be in jail and everyone would be laughing and shaming him. And anyone sending that officer death treats should be thrown in jail and get their head’s examined.
    NO DOG IS WORTH A HUMAN LIFE!!!!!
    I’m glad the city blew their complaint off with a slap on the wrist to the officer.

  64. Steven Halpert on August 22nd, 2008 3:41 pm

    Randall, you’re an idiot, but I’m sure I am not the first person to point that out to you. Let’s try and break this down so that even you can understand.

    No one has any dispute with the officer stopping the vehicle. As far as he was concerned, this was a driver exceeding the speed limit, and frankly, he has no reason to care why at that point. In the state of Texas, there are only two Transportation Code violations in which a driver cannot be arrested: Speeding and Possessing an Open Container of an Alcoholic Beverage in your vehicle (as long as the operator signs the citation that he or she agrees to appear in court at the designated date). The only other violation this heartless pr*ck Stephens could have charged would have been Reckless Driving, a Class B Misdemeanor, an arrestable offense. I am quite surprised he didn’t go this route, given what we now know about him.

    So that we are on the same page, no one disputes that Stephens should have conducted a traffic stop. It is the actions (or omission) that Stephens chose to take AFTER this point that is the issue. If you can honestly focus on this and still hold the opinion that Stephens was justified in doing nothing, then I pray you or a loved one face a similar situation with an adrenaline-junkie like Stephens.

    For you or anyone to pass judgment on this young man as to the way he was driving is remarkable. Whether you agree a dog is worth it, you must accept the fact that to a huge portion of our population, it is! What measures would you take to protect the life or health of a loved one, which includes dogs for so many. Would you speed at a high rate to get that loved one to emergency attention? Of course you would. It defies human logic not to. Faced with an ill person or pet, you have no idea how long the loved one has, so you race, praying every second takes twice as long as normal. There are a lot of assumptions being spread that he “could” have killed someone racing to the emergency hospital. Sure, he could have. So could you every time you get in your car. I submit to you that when you have a goal in mind like getting to a hospital, you are singularly focused on that goal, which includes self-preservation, not reckless abandon. HE DIDN’T KILL ANYONE. This too is an undisputed fact! So let’s put the focus where it belongs, and only where it belongs, on the actions or omission by hopefully-soon-to-be-civilian Stephens.

    Think (if you are capable) for one moment what was going through Stephens’ head when confronted with this situation: I can do nothing, knowing there is a strong likelihood this dog will die in my presence; or I can issue a ticket as quickly as possible and let this couple go about their business; or I can help them by escorting them to the emergency clinic.

    Randall, and stay with me on this, two of those three options will likely end in a dog dying. The third option–the escort–may also, but at least he goes from the most hated cop on the planet at the moment to a kind, public servant going the extra mile for citizens he is empowered to protect and serve. No one can question his initial stop, so he wouldn’t be blamed if his initial stop held them up long enough to prevent them from getting to the emergency vet on time.

    Now I ask you Randall, when we arm our police officers with guns with real bullets, do we want the type of officer that Stephens showed he is, or do we want the type of officer who would go the extra mile as a trusted public servant. Even you, Randall, have to be able to still follow at this point. We want the latter, not the former.

    Stephens cannot be allowed to continue on the force for obvious reasons. No reprimand, sensitivity training, or public censure can undo the hard-wiring that his momma failed to do in the years she reared him, the RESPECT for the SANCTITY of LIFE.

    Speaking of mommas, Momma Stephens, if you’re out there listening, you must be REALLLLLLLL Proud of your little boy right about now. Hopefully you have to wear a bag over your head when you go to the grocery store, not because you’re ugly, but because you are ashamed that you raised a monster who could be so callous as to get pleasure, yes pleasure, out of watching a couple of young folks suffer through sheer misery witnessing their beloved companion expire while they couldn’t do a goddamn thing about it.

    For those morons who want to defend Barney Fife Stephens, I dare you to state publicly that you know him and this was totally out of character for him. It is impossible for this ONE ACT to be out of character for anyone. Impossible. No one who values life, no one who was raised properly to respect human emotion and human suffering, could have mustered the stupidity to make the comments he did and to take the selfless actions he undertook that night.

    This one episode disclosed the real makeup of a very little “man” named Paul Stephens. I’ll leave it to others to take a baseball bat to his head. One writer has now stated that if put in the same situation, she will NOT stop her vehicle for fear of running into a Paul Stephens. How interesting. Those of you concerned about the danger Mr. Gonzalez may have put other drivers in that night now must face an unexpected result, that none of us can now trust the flashing lights behind us to be the kind public servants we see on TV, but rather Paul Stephens and his ilk. So rather than find out, gun it and sort it out later. Always have the closest emergency vet on your speed dial (first thing I did whenever I moved to a new city), call them and let them know you’re coming in for a landing, have a gurney ready for your loved one because Paul Stephens may be right behind you.

    And for you all cop-lovers who defend the blue regardless of their actions, please understand this is not a love cop-hate cop thing. All Americans, and many throughout the world, suffered at the loss of so many dedicated public servants during 9/11, before, and today. Police officers don’t get a pass because they have a difficult job. No one forces an individual to join a police force. I sure hope you are not insinuating they are police officers because they can’t do anything else–that’s not exactly reassuring me why we have police officers. I have friends on police forces all over the country, and the one thing they all have in common is a desire to serve their fellow man. That should be the only reason an individual joins a law enforcement agency. Whether you like it or not, they are held in the public trust, and when they screw up, their accountability is higher than the average citizen because of that public trust. Think of the authority an officer holds over you and I, and what you or your loved ones could be forced to do at the submission of an unchecked renegade officer. Many lives have been ruined by such officers. You don’t get points because some of your brethren ran into those burning buildings if you break the law, or worse, break a moral code to protect and serve. What Stephens did was reprehensible. I can’t think of a better word. There exists no context you can put this situation in that makes it any better than what meets the eye. It is morally and physically reprehensible. Just as you’d agree a coward and a gun are a lethal combination, Stephens is a coward with a gun. We can’t change him being a coward, but we can take the gun away from him. Amen.

  65. Steven Halpert on August 22nd, 2008 3:52 pm

    Keith, most paramedics I know have at least a semblance of an education. I sincerely doubt you are a paramedic, maybe you just play one on TV. Hopefully patients don\’t have to rely on you to read the contents of medications. It\’s prima facie, not primary facia. Let the lawyers play with the legal stuff. You started out strong, then drifted into such tangential conversation that I almost had to give you a ticket for reckless thinking. Stay away from the ether, pal.

  66. Tabitha Visco on August 22nd, 2008 3:57 pm

    Dog Lovers,
    Please do not listen to other peoples negative comments. This officer needs to be fired. The officer should handle it differetly and give the couple an escort to the hospital. If a pet saves your life, we need to owe him/her back. I understand the speeding can harm others. This officer said, Its just a dog that is UNFORGIVEABLE! I hate this heartless officer. Its very horrible to say to dog lovers! Dogs and humans are equal. End of story.

  67. to Steven Halpert on August 22nd, 2008 4:58 pm

    get the whole story straight. There was another officer at the scene, he was the one that determined the dog was already dead. No need to rush him anywhere. People here are just talking out of their a@#. Get the facts straight. How did the dog choke in the first place? If the driver would have been driving at speed limit, this would never had happened and he would have made there. Its a dog, an animal, no matter what way you put it is still an animal, that’s it.

  68. Art Burke on August 22nd, 2008 7:36 pm

    This guy is callous, as well as his boss.
    They should both be fire, as they are a blatent waste of taxpayer’s money.

    Recall the mayor of the town as well, and send them all on a slowboat to china.

    Three stooges.

  69. john h. on August 22nd, 2008 8:29 pm

    I agree that he should have escorted them to the hospital, given the ticket and let the court figure it out. The driver, though driving in light traffic with his flashers on, broke the law. The officer should have escorted the, nicely issued a ticket, and told them he was letting the judge figure it out. He didn’t need to be a jerk. He should be find a new line of work, like janitorial work. They lost their dog, that sweet girl’s major comforter after the loss of her mom. That means nothing to him and his dangerous kind. I don’t think anyone with PTSD has any business being a peace officer…ever. Those I have known are volatile and unpredictable. Anything can happen. Usually bad.

    All the people streaming into the Austin area from elsewhere need to take note. They need to know they are moving to a police state run by ex-football players. Though always with its share of the ignorant, Austin used to be a wonderful place to live. That place is gone, vacated, abandoned and sold. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Do not stray far from the People’s Republic of Austin when visiting.

  70. Steven Halpert on August 22nd, 2008 9:50 pm

    Hey YouGottaBeKiddiingMe, has anyone ever called you a genius? Didn’t think so either.
    You are also no dog lover, my friend. You are the pseudo-dog type, you know the one who thinks keeping your dog outdoors 23 hours a day is fun for them. Possession? Anyone who even utters this word in the same breath as dog doesn’t love them. I beg you, go to the nearest shelter and turn yours in. That shelter life sounds like paradise compared to what old Fido must be living tied up to that swinging tire outside your double-wide.
    Let me explain to you a little Texas law, in case you’re not from these parts. In Texas, if you beat your dog (AKA your possession), you can be charged with a state jail felony Cruelty to Animal, and subject to 2 years in a state jail facility, day for day, no parole. If you punch your wife in the face, which I’m guessing you’ve experimented with on many an occasion, you can only be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable with a maximum of 1 year in a county jail, which does come with good time credit, typically 2 or 3 days for 1, depending on the county. So the next time you want to punch your Possession, pal, think twice, and aim for your wife. That is if you can still aim after the 7th Keystone Light. Take a spelling class as well, you MO-RON!

  71. A Concerned Pet Lover on August 23rd, 2008 4:39 am

    What the officer said was clearly inappropriate. But even more inappropriate is the fact that the poodle’s owner came home late to feed his dog, which caused the poodle to eat hastily and choke. The poodle’s owner needs to understand that he alone caused the death of his pet.

  72. Quan Tranh on August 23rd, 2008 11:15 am

    This cop does not need to be fired. He needs to go to jail. A San Marcos resident needs to go to their ADA and have a warrant sworn out for Cruelty to Animals under Texas law. He obviously violated sections 4,5, & 9. It would be a slam dunk case since the whole incident was on video.

    42.09. Cruelty to Animals
    (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly:
    (1) tortures an animal;
    (2) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody;
    (3) abandons unreasonably an animal in the person’s custody;
    (4) transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner;
    (5) kills, seriously injures, or administers poison to an animal, other than cattle, horses, sheep, swine, or goats, belonging to another without legal authority or the owner’s effective consent;
    (6) causes one animal to fight with another;
    (7) uses a live animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack;
    (8) trips a horse;
    (9) injures an animal, other than cattle, horses, sheep, swine, or goats, belonging to another without legal authority or the owner’s effective consent; or
    (10) seriously overworks an animal.

    Hays County District Attorney’s Office:
    (512) 393-7600

  73. Marcus on August 23rd, 2008 3:49 pm

    San Marcos Police Dept. is infamous for blunders of ths nature. The answer is plain and simple for even the most thick-headed cop, get the dog to the vet, and issue traffic ticket.

    For the friends of Officer Stephens that are defending his behavior, I gotta say that Officer Stephen’s military record is completely irrelevent. For some reason police departments love hiring people who have had traumatic war experiences. That too is irrelevant so lets call it even.. Marcus

  74. Kathleen Clarke on August 23rd, 2008 4:29 pm

    May the dog’s spirit appear night after night in the (so-called) officer’s dreams….just moving here from So. CA I can’t believe these “officers” have nothing better to do. Maybe they should be sent to CA for training to see what “real” cops do to save lives, human & animals.

  75. Dan Misiaszek on August 23rd, 2008 9:53 pm

    The recent news media blitz on the San Marcos Police Department following an interstate police pursuit and subsequent traffic stop brings to light the public’s ignorance to the perils of law enforcement combined with irresponsible news media reporting. The media was quick to jump on a single quote by Officer Stephen’s, out of context to the full situation, to stir raw emotions without reporting the full story of events which took place. The public was quick to play monday morning easy chair cop quarterback and condemn the officers, ignorant to the survival mindset of today’s well trained law enforcement, and the multiple threatening possibilities presented.

    A vehicle traveling at 100+ mph down an interstate highway shortly after midnight is going to bring attention to itself no matter what city they are recklessly driving through. Phone calls were made to the 911 emergency operations center about the reckless vehicle, possible DWI suspect, with many unknowns involved. Officer Paul Stephens, along with other responsible San Marcos police officers, intercepted the erratic vehicle and began a 5 mile pursuit before the vehicle finally stopped near Centerpoint road. The vehicle crossed all three lanes of traffic multiple times, around 18 wheelers, drove on the shoulder of the road, and around construction signs before finally pulling over a second time. The end of the pursuit eliminated further danger the reckless driver was causing the citizens of San Marcos and those motorist passing through.

    Officer Stephens is a combat veteran having served in Iraq and is well trained with the police department. He knows that the percentage of officers killed or injured greatly increases in the hours of darkness on the night shift (1), where most new officers start out. He also knows that vehicles, traffic stops, and pursuits contribute to a high number of line of duty assaults and deaths for officers. In the back of his mind he also knows that 140 peace officers were killed in the line of duty in 2007, and with over half of those that were killed feloniously, their deaths occurred in the southern states.(2)

    Stephen’s approached the vehicle with the mindset of officer survival, with his hand on this gun ready for the many dangerous threats and possibilities. Is the driver armed? Is the driver fleeing a crime? Am I going to be shot? Why is the driver flailing his arms at me? What other threat am I missing? The driver’s first words spoken may not be completely audible in the digital video recording, but they are “SHE’S DEAD!! SHE’S DEAD!!”.

    Now I ask you to put yourself in officer Stephen’s now perspiration soaked body armor. You have just been in a chase with an unknown suspect at 12:30AM at speeds up to 100 mph. You have seen combat in Iraq and know what the words “Dead” indicate. You don’t know if the suspect is armed or why they are fleeing the police, and you are trained to think and survive the worse case scenarios. What would “She’s DEAD!” mean to you? It means there is a dead body in the car.

    Imagine the RELIEF Stephen’s felt when he realized he was not dealing with a dead human body, not a dead baby girl, but a dead dog. His comment of “It’s just a dog” may seem insensitive, and those words were better thought than spoken, but it was a comment of relief that all those other more dangerous and horrible possibilities were no longer relevant. As a combat and police veteran myself, the shouts of ”She’s Dead!” have a very literal human meaning and bring back some memories I would rather forget.

    The media captivated and capitalized on those 4 words spoken by Stephen’s, took them out of context, and initially disregarded the second in car camera provided by Officer Joyce Bender of the passenger side of the stopped vehicle. Officer Bender immediately cradled the dog, attempted to clear the airway, and made the accurate determination the dog was in fact deceased. This action was taken within minutes of the second and final vehicle stop. The news media would have you believe that the pursuit and subsequent stop CAUSED the death of the animal. Fox news reported the death was “subsequent” to the police stop. This is simply not true.

    As an animal lover myself with horses, dogs, goats, and some occasional barn cats, I sympathize with the Gonzalez family in the loss of their pet. My family also suffered the recent sudden loss of a pet. The clinic the Gonzalez’s were traveling to in New Braunfels was 15 miles away from where they finally pulled over. It would have been nothing short of miraculous for them to continue on with triple digit speeds and arrive safely at the clinic, especially with the emotional state of the driver, which Officer Stephen’s points out. It also would have been in vain.

    It was responsible for the police department to pursue and stop the reckless driver. It was responsible for the police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the high speed pursuit. Back up officers acted responsibly in assessing the condition of the dog and did in fact determine the dog was already dead. With nothing more that could be done for the dog, it was responsible to issue a traffic citation although with the current media frenzy, I doubt any fines will be assessed. Officer’s Stephen’s remarks were better thought than said but brought to light his relief that the situation was not more serious.

    In the end the news media got their headlines, the Gonzalez family is getting their attention, and the police are again unjustly portrayed as the bad guys. Oprah will play on the emotions of animal lovers, broadcast the officer’s comments out of context, and portray the police as the villains. Imagine what would have happened if the Gonzalez family was allowed to continue at speed, with or without escort, and had caused another tragedy possibly involving you or someone in your family.

    Most progressive police departments such as the San Marcos police department have a “Citizen’s police academy” which I strongly recommend all San Marcos citizens attend. Before you jump to conclusions based on irresponsible, emotional, out of context reporting, attend the citizen’s police academy and learn the full pot-pourri of multitasking challenges and dangers modern day law enforcement officers face every day.

    Dan Misiaszek

    (1) – Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) FBI annual publication
    (2) – 2007 Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s annual report FBI UCR

    Dan Misiaszek is a retired San Marcos police sergeant currently serving his third year in Iraq providing security for US Diplomats

  76. YouGottaBeKiddingMe on August 24th, 2008 2:13 am

    Mr Halpert, like I said, get a life. Since you know so much about Texas laws, look it up. I’m fully aware of animal abuse laws, but if you would take one moment and not be an arrogant prick, you might realize there is also a law stating that a dog in the eyes of ALL Texas Courtrooms is a possession NOT a human being. If this retart of a driver had hit & injured any human being for what TX consider’s a possession, then you can bet SHE would go to jail. I don’t agree with what the officer said, but guess what, sounds like everybody needs to grow up if they can’t handle a few harsh words. Everybody seems to love jumping on the band wagon of slamming any law inforcement agent when they “step out of line” but I can assure you, the only reason any of you aren’t totally ignorant to this occurence is b/c Ms. Gonzales wouldn’t a little attention & chose to go the media. None of the comments made are even remotely as slanderous as the article it’s self. I think reporters are pathetic, blood sucking, parasites that will only tell a story the best way they think it will sell. Wether it’s bending the truth or completly making crap up, as long as it gets the rest of us responding, they’re happy. I feel for you Mr Halpert b/c you’re the MOR-ON who can’t see that.

  77. YouGottaBeKiddingMe on August 24th, 2008 3:30 am

    Mr Halpert after skimming thru a few more of your responses it\’s very clear that you have nothing better to do than criticize other who have more thought than \”stupid cop\”. You are truely an idiot, feel free to continue critiquing any grammatical errors, I\’m sure you have your Dictionary/Thesaurus right at hand. By the way, your ignorant insults are wasted on me, so have a great day, looser.

  78. Chris Emery on August 24th, 2008 10:19 am

    Hey myrmidons! Go to:

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/hillcountry/entries/2008/08/21/watch_dashcam_video_of_san_mar.html

    There you can see complete dash-cam footage of Officer Stephens entire stop. What you also will see is footage from the dash-cam of another “mean ol’ police officer.” Officer Joyce Bender spent her first 5 minutes, on scene, giving the dog CPR, trying to keep it alive, while Officer Stephens worked to resolve the rest of the situation. How dare she!

    Now go finish your Kool-Aid!

    I hope you are all as outraged over the roughly 40 million children that have been killed in America since Roe v. Wade passed.

    Pardon me; I forgot… Those were “choices” not children.

  79. Tony Max on August 24th, 2008 11:57 am

    I live near this officer, and he has done nothing but cause problems. We have several other police videos of this officer harassing college students. This officer needs to know that he is not in Iraq any more. This is not a war zone and that people animals deserve respect also. He just needed to escort them to the animal clinic which is RIGHT DOWN THE STREET! The mayor and police chief need to realize that this deserves more discipline and not just a slap on the wrist.

  80. Luke Davidson on August 24th, 2008 5:19 pm

    I keep seeing the word hate in these posts, always in reference to Officer Stephens. I rather doubt any of you even understand the word, or perhaps it’s just ignorance that makes you say such a thing about someone you don’t know. While I disapprove of the officers actions and thought they were more than a little callous, I don’t know him well enough to hate him. To Steven Halpert, are you a Texan, or a transplant? Same goes for John H. If neither of you are Texans then you’d do well to not speak ill of our State. If you are natives and feel this strongly, move.

  81. cheryl on August 24th, 2008 7:17 pm

    I agree that the cop was doing his job by pulling over a speeding car but as someone who just lost a pet after rushing them to the vet he could have been more sympethetic and I can see how upset the driver could have been. My vet is just around the corner from our home am not sure why someone would choose to have so far away that they would have to drive that far and that fast to get there. I was not blessed when 2 legged children so my 4 legged ones are all that I have. I would do whatever it took to save thier life.

  82. Steven Halpert on August 25th, 2008 7:47 am

    Mr. Davidson, unlike you, my house is not on wheels, so I’m not moving anywhere. In case you haven’t looked at a map since 1839, there are just a few more states in the Union besides Texas. If you feel the way some Texans do, that you’d prefer to be your own country, then you’d be speaking with a slight Mexican accent right about now. Thankfully, when I speak with juries down here, more and more of these folks are transplants just like me. I’ve been here 8 years, and am proud to call this my home. What the hell has that got to do with criticizing your government, I don’t make the connection. If you believe that by being Texan by birth that means you don’t dare say a negative word against your public servants, than you sir are a fool and a damn liar.

  83. Steven Halpert on August 25th, 2008 8:49 am

    YouGottaBeKiddingMe, it’s Loser, not Looser. Congratulations, you are now qualified to become a member of the San Marcos Police Department. Here’s a gun and badge, go shoot a dog, BE SOMEBODY!

  84. Judith on August 25th, 2008 10:55 am

    This is not only unbelievable but it is also unforgivable. This officer is an absolute sadistic monster. I wonder how many times a week he beats up his wife and kids, if he has any. This kind of monster has no regard for life. He should just become a throw away. It’s humans like this loser that is responsible for the misery in this world. I feel as if he got his jollies off of these poor kids and their beloved Missy. How horrific that these kind of monsters exist in this world.
    We must have Justice for Missy!!!!!

  85. YouGottaBeKiddingMe on August 25th, 2008 12:17 pm

    Halpert, you crack me up. The more I read your responses the more it’s very clear to me that you are either attempting to get into law school or you’ve already flunked out. What kinda stick do you have up your ass that you just can’t except that you are not 100% right. I can at least respect others opinions. I’ll help you out, go screw your boyfriend and then study again for the BAR. You seem to talk about trailers alot, seems to me that’s a touchy subject, let me guess, you grew up in one & now you feel you’re some sort of self righteous hipocrit that feels the need to slap everyone else on the hand. Well shame on me for questioning your all mighty intelligence. By the way, I agree with Mr. Davidson, I assure you, true Texans don’t want you here.

  86. Steven Halpert on August 25th, 2008 4:49 pm

    YouGottaBeKiddingMe, I’m assuming you got that moniker from your wife on your wedding night. No, I can assure you I actually passed the Bar many years ago, in two states actually, first attempt. I’m guessing passing a bar is something you would find difficult, going inside, not so difficult. Trailers aren’t a touchy subject, I can also assure you I’ve never been inside of one. They don’t grow them in Washington, D.C. where I hail from. We can trade jabs all day long, son. Love the token gay comment, sorry to disappoint you I’m not that either, though there’s nothing wrong with that, Jerry. I’m curious, does the plant know you’re using their computer? I’m hoping by your slurred writing that you’re simply just drunk, again. I handle a ton of DWI’s as well, call me, that is unless you refuse to believe that cops make mistakes. I’m signing off for the night, pal, I don’t actually work a shift. Put your safety goggles back on.

  87. TW on August 25th, 2008 5:49 pm

    To:
    Dan Misiaszek

    First, thank you for your service to our country.
    Second, get your facts correct. Watch the video. The young man gets out of the car and says, “She’s dying, She’s dying!” Stephens then says, “Who’s dying?” Quit repeating what you heard or read and watch the entire video for yourself. Third, watch the ENTIRE video—all seventeen plus minutes of it. If you ask me, the media only showed the “nice” part of it. Officer Stephens really shows his a** towards the end of the video. Fourth, no one is saying the officer should not have stopped a speeding car. Stephens was doing his job by pulling over the car—the problem is his abusive treatment of two citizens of this community and his intentional delay of the traffic stop.

  88. Jane on August 26th, 2008 5:42 am

    There are alot of ignorant people writing from an empty brain…… Missy was a big part of our family. There have been alot of WHAT IF…..fact is no human being was hurt, but we lost our precious Missy. Take the time to watch both dash cams and the truth of what happened is there. In no way did they administer CPR. Officer Bender picked Missy up and poked at her to see if there was any movement and Krystal asked to get Missy back in her arms. If you don’t care about animals why even waste your time sharing idiotic comments.

  89. oldnavy on August 26th, 2008 1:54 pm

    I just found this site. Story is all over the internet. I am new to the site and have to catch up on the comments. To Rebecca, Stephens stated that it would have been ok for a child to be transported. Well you skip the emergency services drive 100 MPH and slam into my wife’s car my children, is your childs life worth more than than my children? You can’t call 911 for a dog but can for a child and not put others in danger. Let’s get emergency vets outlawed so there is no temeptation to take the dog. But that is not really a solution either is it.
    To I spent a career in the military and have seen people train and train for certain situations and talk the talk about how they would handle the situation. Well when it came time to walk the walk the people that bragged the most were usually the ones that came apart at the seems handling the emergecny. I am mainly talking fires, flooding and explosions. You never know what you are going to do until it happens to you.

  90. oldnavy on August 26th, 2008 5:03 pm

    Chris Emery,
    I used your link to the videos. Well Stephen’s video is the same one all over the internet with the same section edited out. The female officer’s (Bender?) video says in the beginnning that it is edited. If not for the audio that video would be useless due to the distance. Even with audio, I can only be sure she held the dog at one point and that does not mean she gave CPR or Heimlich maneuver. How many police officers are trained for that with animals especially in small towns? With that said, wearing a badge makes her an expert in veterinary medicine. There is a reason a doctor has to pronounce a person . First aid training does not equate. Oh the abortion thing, obviously you only support the laws that conform to your ideas. If you don’t participate you definately advocate the clinic ings.

    What is a myrmidon and why do I need to drink kool-aid? I am 42 and like kool-aid. I have 3 kids and 2 dogs.

    The pysical fitness standards are kind of lax in San Marcos PD (look at the female officer). They save her for the dog massages and to play “good cop” to Stephen’s “bad cop”.

  91. oldnavy on August 26th, 2008 6:58 pm

    Jane,
    I am sorry about Missy. When my parents divorced 35 years ago, my mother had to leave for a job so the dogs and myself were left with my dad. My dads second wife d dogs and made them stay in the back yard. The only reason I got to keep them is because my mother threatened to take the house and much more from my dad. My trailer trash step mother put up with the filthy beasts on the property because the house is more important. Even in below zero temps she made them stay out. Well I slipped out and stayed with the dogs the night they froze to . One of those dogs was a year old when I was born and treated me like her own pup. If Paul is looking for an older woman to hook up with, I have his match. She dumped my dad and took the house a couple of years later. I did not intend to make my story worse just to let you know I have felt the loss.

  92. oldnavy on August 27th, 2008 4:30 am

    Jane, when I reviewed my post it was not chopped up like that. I can type.

  93. Stephen on August 27th, 2008 6:20 pm

    I’m glad…one less mut in the world…You people need to get a life it is after all…JUST A DOG.

  94. Sancman on August 27th, 2008 7:06 pm

    You can bet your sweet @$$ he would have used his lights and siren getting to the emergency vet if it was his dog!!!
    I am very surprised by the chief’s response…..maybe if people started writing the mayor and city council…..

    one other thing I hope he gets bit right where the sun don’t shine! 😉

  95. MW on August 28th, 2008 12:28 am

    Did Mr. Gonzalez kill anyone? Did he hurt anyone?
    The answer is “NO!” So why are so many people still stuck on those questions?
    Stephens was right to pull them over. He was right in giving them a ticket(which was dismissed shortly after).
    The anger and frustration people are feeling stem from the way idiot cop treated them after Gonzalez got out of the car.
    We all know Stephens infamous words “it’s just a dog.” Did anyone see the rest of the video when he tells Gonzalez “I don’t care about your damn dog.”
    Was it necessary for him to be that cruel to them?
    Did it make him feel like a big man?
    I hope he’s feeling like shit now. I’ve yet to see anything in the news or on a website where Stephens has apologized to the young couple. Of course, it’s just a little too late now.
    Another question, why haven’t they shown his face on the news? It’s pretty blurry on the videos.
    Not that I would care to see or run into his sorry mug, especially if I have one of my dogs.
    I feel sorry for the Stephens family. It should be easy to pick them out though. They’re the ones who are probably wearing paper bags over their heads. Oh, the shame you’ve caused Mr. Pig Stephens. SHAME! SHAME! and not just to your family, but to most of us in Texas, natives and transplants included.

    I am a native Texan, born and raised in San Antonio, but have been living in Austin for the last 18 years. I have two children attending Texas State University. I worry that they may have an emergency one day and run into Stephens.
    Please Stephens, I beg of you, leave my children alone.
    I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I’m sure that there are other parents who fear for the safety of their children. Especially when you give a badge and a gun to insensitive cops like Stephens.
    Lastly, I would like to thank you again Mr. Halpert for being the voice of innocent animals.
    Keep up the good work.

  96. 1984 on August 28th, 2008 5:10 pm

    MW, I am with you but be careful big brother is allowed to monitor these sites in the guise of weeding out ist. They can easily find out who you and your kids are. Police states get started by saying it is for the good of the people and country. For those of you that want to bash me on this, I wore that uniform for 22 years for this country. I don’t claim hero status or want praises for it,just don’t say I my country. I don’t know about Texas but I never saw the mention of the incident on Good Morning America and Inside Edition. I have not personally seen it on local or national news. It is an internet story. Most people I know have not heard the story. If a person had died it would have had more coverage but not necessarily result in him being at fault. Have a nice day

  97. MW on August 28th, 2008 7:02 pm

    Dear 1984,

    I first saw it on the news the day after the incident. I saw it again on Good Morning America. I didn’t see it on Inside Edition. I didn’t have a problem with Stephens pulling over the speeding couple. I have a problem with the way he handled the situation. It’s clear to see in the video that the driver was very upset. But why make things worse? Stephens could have easily let the girl drive with the dog to the vet. Was the dog already dead? The couple say no, but the cops say yes. Who’s telling the truth? Stephens could have been a hero, even if the dog was already dead. But instead, he gets bashed, not because he is a cop, but because he is an insensitive cop who was so awful to them.
    I have a question 1984. Who releases the cop car videos? I’m sure not just anyone has access to those videos.
    I’m sure that the police have been monitoring these sites. I’m sure they will look for the ones that are threatening.
    I obey the laws and have much respect for several officers. But I have also seen many cops who have thrown their authority around. I think that Stephens went a bit too far.
    I have friends who are cops, and they have also said that they would have done things differently.
    They said they would have tried to help instead of hurt the situation.
    And you’re right, there would have been a lot more coverage if someone had been killed. But no one EXCEPT for that little helpless dog died.

    This is still fresh, and now we have the story of the poor dog that was set on fire. I hope they catch the idiot(s) who did that. When will the cruelty to animals end.

  98. 1984 on August 29th, 2008 4:08 am

    MW, I said I was with you. This has had me upset for weeks. Some of the meanest people I have met in the military decided to get a police job when they got out. Personally that really scares me. Some officers say they would do it different but many more support Stephens than not. Most of Stephens’ supporters skirt around the issue of the comments. Some (mostly cops) say the comments were perfectly justified. I am not arguing the traffic stop but I am arguing the comments made. I don’t know who released the video to the public. Was it an official release, if so then that department wasn’t too smart. Could be someone there released it covertly because they thought their fellow officer was a jerk. Like oldnavy, I checked out Chris Emery’s link and those are edited videos. I don’t know the details but Stephens was in the military and in Iraq at some point. Maybe he brought the war back with him. The police monitoring these sites does not scare me. J.Edgar Hoover would love the setup that homeland security has these days. I haven’t checked out a library book since W. has been in office, I am scared that I might get something they don’t like. A baby is flown to Hawaii for emergency heart surgery but dies while detained at the Honolulu airport by homeland security. Yes security is needed but at what cost? People blogging about the Stepens case make references to police taking better care of K-9’s. Well I have found several stories around the internet about that not being the case. The most common issue is K-9’s left in hot cars and die. An Arizona cop that was actually broght up on charges was aquitted. How about the Marines that filmed themselves throwing that puppy off a cliff in Iraq. The actual thrower got kicked out of the Marines, I would like to have some alone time with all of them. The sad thing is the only reason the Marine was punished was bringing discredit to the Corps. The only dog the brass cares about is that bull dog mascot. There are a lot of Stephens’ supporters that claim to be dog lovers. Well being a dog owner does not make you a lover. I guarantee there are very few humans willing to do for their dogs what the dogs would do for them. If your ex-governor has his way endangered species acts will be a thing of the past. So how do you get your posts to stay in paragraphs? When I submit posts it condenses them.

  99. YouGottaBeKiddingMe on August 29th, 2008 11:26 am

    Halpert, if you were a real man you wouldn’t feel the need to constantly defend yourself. You very obviously are only a criminal defense attorney and not someone who tries to uphold the law for the rest of the people, other wise you might see that Gonzalez was in the wrong.

    As for you Jane, I don’t agree with what the officer said to you, but listen sweet heart. The fact of the matter was it was a dog & Gonzales risked human lives to get a DOG to an emergency clinic. I understand she didn’t hurt anybody, but she still broke the law. 1. If the dog was choking, as is being said, I assure you without anyone attempting to dislodge the item from it’s throat it was not going to make it anyway all the way to the emergency clinic. 2. If it was sick, and Gonzales waited until it was on it’s death bed to do anything about it, that’s her problem. This officer has accepted SOME responsibility for his part in this DOG’S death, but Ms. Gonzales needs to do the same. She was in the wrong, end of story.

  100. oldnavy on August 29th, 2008 2:24 pm

    Actually you have to be kidding me, you have Michael Gonzales and Krystal Henandez mixed up. She might be Mrs Gonzales one day but for now they are single college kids living together. Unless she is one of those that kept her last name when married. That doesn’t matter. At least do some research if you want to throw the punches. Do you even know who Paul Stephens is? I had a guy argue with me on an animal site (of all things), and then asked me who the !@#$ Paul Stephens was. Oh come on. You agree that Stephens comments were that of your average school bully. As for Stephens accepting part of the blame, I have been cheking lots of site and have not heard that yet. If he did it on his own then I commend him but not very smart and if he was ordered, then not smart on the administration’s part. Admission of guilt just helps out lawsuits, which I am agianst. Lawsuits really only punish the taxpayer. Just ban emergency vets and remove the temptation. If it is not there to go to then they will stay home and freak out and not put humans in danger. Most emergencies where I live you have to go to the emergency vet even during normal hours because most vets here will not reschedule to take care of your emergency. They don’t teach animal CPR/first aid. There is not a good solution, that everyone will accept. Things change and some may not like it. Animal cruelty laws are relatively new. Well at least the enforcement of such. In the end it was the dog that lost. Some say so what and some are outraged.

  101. 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.

  102. 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!

  103. 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!

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

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

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

    Halpert you have a deal.

  106. 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.

  107. 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

  108. 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.

  109. 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.

  110. 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.

  111. 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.