A battle is brewing in Texas concerning the firing of a fire fighter in Texas who posted photos to Facebook showing several dead dogs. Facebook pages have been created both in support of the man involved, as well as demanding his prosecution.
Tim Conatser, a Union Valley Fire Department fire fighter has been dismissed following a social media post showing dogs that he claimed to have shot. The February 24 Facebook post stated
“Somebody didn’t put any truth my warning,” said text appearing with a picture of two apparently dead dogs, with what appears to be blood next to one dog’s head. “Keep your damn dogs on your property.”
According to a February 25 article by the Herald-Banner, the Royse City Fire Department released a media statement saying
“Allegedly, a member of the Union Valley Fire Department posted a boast on Facebook claiming that he killed 2 dogs on his property. He included pictures of the deceased dogs. His Facebook identified himself as a fireman and claimed that he lived in Royse City. We have received a deluge of angry emails and phone calls this morning.
To set the record straight…. the person has been suspended as a Union Valley fireman, and lives outside of our city limits. Any offense did not occur within Royse City jurisdiction.”
This has created a rift in the community, both in the Royse City area, as well as on social media. Conaster was suspended, then resigned after receiving death threats.
Conatser apparently shot the dogs in defense of either his personal pets or his livestock. Since the shooting, he has received multiple death threats for killing the dogs. Facebook: We demand Tim Conestar be prosecuted is at more than 440 “likes,” and is asking for formal charges to be filed against Conatser
A page supporting Conatser can be found here, which states
“Drastic times call for drastic measures. A man who rises to the occasion to do the right thing is the vanguard of liberty. We stand with Tim! Tim lost his job at the fire department and has been getting death threats, and all he did was protect his animals from a pack of vicious dogs. “
There are circumstances that allow the legal killing of dogs that involve the protection of people or livestock. Was Conatser protecting his private property when he shot these dogs? Or was he simply boasting about the kill on social media, which is a very stupid thing to do these days? Did he kill the dogs because they were a real threat, or simply because they were trespassing on his property?
Nolo.com Legal Encyclopedia has a useful article that describes when it’s not illegal to kill a dog on your own property. This only applies if the dog is posing a real threat. In most states, the law considers shooting a dog simply for wandering onto private property a crime, meaning Conatser can legally be charged with cruelty to animals.
Now Conatser has lost his job, and may or may not face charges. Facebook has become a hub for identifying animal abusers who boast of their deeds on the popular social media site. One day people may learn not to brag about their kills online, or face retribution by animal advocates who carefully monitor the site and cause these posts to go viral, usually ending with the arrest of the person responsible for the post.
Please feel free to comment on what you would like to see happen in this case.