Man says deputies told him to decapitate dog or go to jail
Blood stains at the end of the Crawford County driveway had been covered up with sand Monday in the spot where a dog was beheaded with a kitchen knife early evening Friday.
Clumps of dog hair were still visible on the blood-soaked blue collar nearby.
Joe Nate Goodwin says he decapitated his 2-year-old dog at the behest of the sheriff’s deputies, who had been called out to the house earlier in the day after a neighbor was bitten on the leg.
Goodwin said he wasn’t home when a deputy came by the house. The dog lunged toward the deputy, who shot it dead near the mailbox, he said.
Goodwin’s girlfriend called to tell him “Big Boy has been shot,” he said.
“I left work and went straight home, found my dog dead in my yard,” Goodwin told The Telegraph on Monday.
The deputy who killed Big Boy was nice enough, Goodwin said. The two talked about their shared interest in automobiles.
Then, James Hollis, a sheriff’s investigator, showed up with questions about Big Boy’s vaccination records.
What happened next unfolded in a series of short videos Goodwin took of the encounter. Some of the videos were removed from Facebook due to their graphic nature. Others have garnered tens of thousands of views.
“I knew I had to have some way of proving this,” Goodwin said. “I just don’t think I was supposed to be the one to remove my dog’s head the way they made me do it.”
One video opens with Hollis threatening to take Goodwin to jail. Goodwin asked what he would be charged with and the other officer responded, “you can be charged with disorderly conduct.”
“You can sit there all you want and try to record all you want to record,” Hollis says in the video.
“I’m protecting myself. Y’all come up to me... I’m reacting to having to cut my ... dog’s head off,” Goodwin shouted.
“We asked you to remove the dog’s head,” Hollis said. “And you’re refusing, right?”
“I ain’t got a ... knife to cut” the head off, Goodwin said.
“If you would just listen,” the other officer cut in. “We don’t know this process either.”
In a video taken after the decapitation, Hollis and the other officer can be heard giving instructions to Goodwin’s girlfriend. Big Boy’s head was placed in a white plastic bag.
“She gonna place that into the bag and they got to freeze it,” Hollis said in the video. “That can be tested for rabies, OK?”
The other officer gave the woman a phone number and told her to “meet them at the health department in Roberta with the head. Give her a call in 15-20 minutes.”
“Tonight?” she asked.
“Yes. It has to be done tonight,” the officer said. “They have to put it in the refrigerator overnight.”
The woman told The Telegraph she cried as she drove the dog’s head to the health department at 7 p.m. that evening.
On Monday, Goodwin told The Telegraph that the officers offered him the option to call a veterinarian and pay to have the head removed. However, with three young children around Christmas time, money is tight.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office was inundated with hundreds of phone calls from across the country after the videos were shared online.
Messages left for Sheriff Lewis Walker were not returned. Office staff said Walker was in Atlanta on Monday.
Hollis was back at work Monday. Office staff confirmed an internal investigation into the incident was ongoing.
The initial incident report was not available, but according to past reports, police have been called to the address on at least five occasions since 2015. All of the calls were in reference to dogs and dog bites.