Four days after a video showing a former Faulkner County K-9 deputy shooting a small dog went viral, the prosecutor's office is asking for the harassing flood of messages to cease.
Carol Crews, the newly-elected 20th Judicial District prosecutor, released a statement Tuesday morning asking the public to be patient as she waits for a case file to be submitted to her office from the sheriff. Once she receives evidence in the case, she said she will begin reviewing the matter to determine if any criminal charges will be filed just as the prosecutor's office does for all its cases.
"My office has received numerous e-mails, phone calls and social media messages regarding an incident involving a former Sheriff's Deputy shooting a small dog over the weekend," the release reads. "At this time, we have not received a criminal referral from the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office."
Several agencies have received threatening messages since the graphic video began circulating the web. Faulkner County dispatchers have also reported their emergency lines being tied up at times with individuals calling in to complain about the incident.
The Conway Police Department as well as the Conway County Sheriff's Office both released statements Saturday asking the public to stop leaving threatening messages and calling to insult employees at their respective departments.
"The law enforcement officer in the video is not a Conway Police Department officer," spokesman LaTresha Woodruff said Saturday. "The incident did not take place in the city. It happened outside of our jurisdiction in Faulkner County."
Once the case file is complete and handed over to her, Crews said she will thoroughly investigate all evidence pertaining to the shooting, as well as all subsequent threats made by others following the incident.
"To be clear, as with any criminal referral, once we receive the case file from law enforcement, we will conduct a thorough review of the evidence and make the appropriate charging decision based on the evidence and law," the Tuesday morning release reads in part. "We will also complete the same process on any potential criminal referrals which have stemmed from this incident, including threats made to Sheriff's Office dispatchers and threats made directly to the Sheriff's Office, including a bomb threat on [Sunday]."
Between now and then, Crews said she is asking for the flood of messages to fizzle out so that officials can do their part of this investigation justly.
"I ask the public to be patient as we diligently and thoroughly handle any and all cases presented to this office for review in a manner that complies with the laws and procedures by which we are bound," she said.
Video clips of the incident that occurred around 4:30 p.m. Friday began circulating social media platforms that night. By Saturday, the video showing former Faulkner County K-9 handler Keenan Wallace shooting a 9-pound dog had gone viral.
Just as quickly as the video began circulating the web, donations to help offset the costs of the dog's vet bills began pouring in. A Go Fund Me fundraiser had raised more than $20,000 for small Reese's by Tuesday evening. The dog's caretakers previously looked to raise $3,000 to fund the costs of surgery and other emergency care at the Arkansas Veterinary Emergency & Specialists center in Little Rock. As of Tuesday, the collection goal was upped to $23,500.
Faulkner County resident Doug Canady, who took the video of Wallace shooting Reese's outside his Shiloh Estates residence, began looking after the small dog a few years ago when her owners abandoned her. She was just a stray, but he said his daughter and the neighborhood kids grew to love her.
Following the incident, the Faulkner County resident told the Log Cabin he was disgusted with authorities but also that he was thankful for the community's support.
Canady also said he found it alarming that Wallace threatened him with a taser soon after shooting Reese’s. He said there was no way Wallace “feared for his life” when he shot the dog, adding that Wallace shot the dog moments after he declined walking over to talk with Wallace in the street vs. on his porch.
Upset that a Faulkner County law enforcement officer had discharged a weapon in front of him and shot a dog he has helped to nurture, Canady says he will never look at Faulkner County officials the same.
According to update's on Reese's Go Fund Me page, the small dog has already undergone one round of surgery but will soon need to see a specialist.
"Reese's is out of surgery and resting," a Tuesday page update reads. "They couldn't do much with the jaw, but cleaned up the wound and removed some loose bone. They will be referring the results to other specialists. They are concerned about some damage to the tongue."