Answers demanded in pet’s death

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To the editor:

Law enforcement in West Wildwood shot a puppy who broke free of her leash during a walk, and later dug up her body after burial in the family's yard. They said they needed to test for rabies, even though the owner had medical records documenting that her pet had been vaccinated.

Ryan Conrey had taken the family pet out for a walk when the collar broke. Conrey says the frolicking puppy, wanting to play, jumped up on a nearby woman. The dog did not bite the woman. The woman got a small scratch when she pushed the puppy down.

As Ryan and his friend, another 20 year old, ran after and tried to corner the playful puppy, police officer Cesar Luna of the West Wildwood police department arrived, drew his service weapon, and shot the puppy in the head, killing her. One boy was only within a few feet from the dog, reaching down to grab her, at the moment the officer fired the fatal shot. The boy was so close that he felt the spray of the blood when the bullet struck Phoenix. Both boys say that there was no justification to kill the puppy and that it was extremely lucky that the one boy was not also killed by the officer's bullet.

The family and local townspeople are calling for an explanation of why the officer was so quick to draw his weapon and why he discharged his weapon so near to the boy. "The residents of this borough are upset that the police think they can shoot someone's pet just because a leash broke, said Chantal Langlois.

The family and townspeople also up in arms over the unnecessary exhumation of the puppy's body after burial, and the insensitive way they manhandled the body. Once the police released the dog's body to the family after the shooting, the family buried Phoenix in their yard. The next day, investigators from the County Prosecutor's Office announced that the dog's body would have to be dug up, her head cut off, and the head send to the lab to test for rabies. The family protested that they had proof that the dog had been vaccinated for rabies. However, the investigators refused to review the vaccination records and proceeded to dig up their pet.

Ms. Langlois said, "They dug in the ground like the body was not there, they dug hard, then they grabbed her by the tail and threw her into a trash bag like she was garbage, greatly upsetting the family." They then took her body away, and sent her to Baysea Veterinary Hospital, in Rio Grande.

Ms. Langlois then pleaded with the veterinarian and police not to desecrate her pet's body for no reason and again offered to show the proof of vaccination for rabies. Her pleas were ignored. The vet went ahead and cut off her pet's head and had the brain tested for rabies. The results confirmed that the dog did not have rabies.

“I told them there is no way Phoenix could have rabies because she was vaccinated and I had the written proof to show them, but they would not listen: they went onto my property, took away my pet, and mutilated her body for no reason. This has been a nightmare for our family and we demand answers and justice from the West Wildwood Police and County Prosecutor's office.”

Mercedes Delgado

West Wildwood


Editor’s note: This letter was sent from Mercedes Delgado, but her mother, Chantal Langlois, has indicated that she helped with the final wording before it was sent.



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