Arrested woman mulls legal action after police shoot her dog
TIM WIECLAWSKI/METRO OTTAWA
A city woman accused of siccing her dog on police officers, forcing them to kill the animal, yesterday alleged police used excessive force while restraining her, and said they had no reason to shoot her dog.
Stephanie Spiess, 24, can’t remember all the details of a July 21 incident that left her imprisoned and her beloved boxer Tigre dead, but said yesterday, “I don’t recall letting (the dogs) loose like they said I did. I couldn’t untie the dogs; they stopped me before (that).”
The early morning incident started when a homeowner confronted a woman “removing items” from a shed behind an Amberwood Crescent home, according to police.
Spiess, who admits being intoxicated, had taken her dogs Bijou and Tigre for a walk. The dogs chased a rabbit to a fence and when Spiess retrieved them, her lighter fell into the yard. She tied her dogs then jumped the fence to get it, knocking over a lantern, and falling into a shed.
She was rising to leave when the homeowner confronted her.
Police claim Spiess punched the man. But Spiess said she was terrified and only trying to get away. She fled, taking the lantern.
“I didn’t want (the owner) to see it and think I had broken it,” she said. “Then I hid it because I wanted to bring it back.”
When police found her, she was walking to where her dogs were tied on Prince of Wales Drive.
“I saw two figures coming after me,” she said. “When they yelled ‘police,’ I ran toward my dogs and tried to untie them.
“I should have just stopped … but I didn’t trust them to listen to me.”
Spiess isn’t certain what followed. She claims to have been struck across the back of her legs several times, then handcuffed and dragged to a cruiser. But she clearly remembers when police shot her dog.
“The guy that shot him, my dog was nowhere near him,” she said, near tears. “That part is burned into my head. I just heard him yelp and then a gunshot.”
Police reported both officers had been bitten, but later said the attack did not puncture their skin.
After the second shot, Spiess said she blacked out and later awoke in a cell, with cuts and deep bruises on her face, arms and legs.
She now faces several charges, including break and enter, assault and resisting arrest. But she insists that police overreacted, and is considering legal action of her own.
“I didn’t stop, which is another mistake. If I had stopped maybe my dog would still be alive. I don’t know.”