Fatal Dog Shooting Prompts Policy Changes in Randall County

- RANDALL COUNTY -- A Randall county family claims their dog was wrongfully killed by a sheriff's deputy.

    Now, the sheriff is changing policy on dealing with dogs.

    During a press conference Monday, Sheriff Joel Richardson expressed his sympathies to the dog owners.  But, has no plans to fire the deputy involved.

    Ryan and Toni Walker say deputy John Vaught didn't need to kill their dog.

    The sheriff says the deputy was defending himself from a charging animal.

    It all happened July 23 at a home just east of Canyon.

    The dashcam video shows the deputy leaving the home, walking out out of view. 
    Then you see the dog, an Australian Shepherd, running toward the area where the deputy was last seen.

    You can't see or hear it, but that's when deputy Vaught fired four shots, critically wounding the dog.

    He then fires a fifth shot to put the dog out of his misery at the request of the owner.

    "It's shocking to think that the people that me and my husband have both looked up to our entire lives to protect us have come in and and destroyed our family basically."  Tori Walker said.

    Sheriff Richardson stood by his deputy.  "It's not a question of whether it's justifiable or not.  It's, can it be avoided?  And my answer's yes it can be if I give those guys the proper training and guidance."

    Sheriff Richardson says his staff will undergo training to better handle situations with dogs without using deadly force.

    The sheriff also wants to clear-up some confusion in the case.

    There are a lot of rumors flying around.  Especially on social media.

    Richardson says Mrs. Walker and her baby were not present when deputy Vaught fired the first four shots.  The video shows her coming out with her baby afterward.

    Also, the dashcam video was not edited.  You can see that with the time stamp on the video.

    Sheriff Richardson said he gave the family $500 to buy another dog.

    The Walkers feel like that was a bribe to shut them up. 
    They say they won't cash the check and will sue the county.

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