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Tased to Death

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Police defend use of controversial device that killed dog

WARREN - Michael Vick was not the only dog killer who made headlines last week; a Vermont State Police trooper used deadly force against a canine. The animal, which belonged to a suspected drug user, was accidentally "Tased" to death.

"The death of this dog was unfortunate, as our intent was to protect the dog's life, not kill it," says Sergeant John Flannigan, a State Police spokesman. The August 9 incident occurred after troopers from the Middlesex barracks responded to a car accident on Airport Road in Warren, according to police. Driver Lindsey Stafford, 29, and her husband Thomas, 29, were both at the accident scene when police arrived. Police later determined both had arrest warrants and suspected the two were involved with drugs.

With a warrant in hand, police entered the nearby Stafford residence and encountered the family pooch, a pit bull, which troopers claim was hostile. "The dog was snapping its teeth at two troopers who were attempting to secure it," says Flannigan. "The dog was Tased multiple times, because after each Tase it would recover and continue its aggression."

In the wake of two controversial incidents involving police use of Tasers in Brattleboro, the state attorney general's office is conducting a statewide investigation into all police use of Tasers and other non-lethal forms of force.

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