Florence family accuses police chief of shooting 2 dogs

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist JUSTIN TERRY

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on June 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 3 at 1:04 AM

FLORENCE, Texas --  The Vybiral family are dog lovers; considering their four-legged companions members of their family. It started with Sassy, a six year old Rhodesian Ridgeback. Now this family is mourning, Sassy is dead.

"She's crying, she's hysterical. 'There's blood mom. She's shooting guns.'" Louise Vybiral describes the phone call she received from her daughter Caren Friday afternoon.

Caren says she was watching a movie with her two year old daughter Lilly when gunshots rang out. She thought they were coming from across the street.

"Thought maybe Chevron was being robbed or something. I didn't have any idea what was going on," Caren Vybiral said. "And when I walked to open the door, there was another gun shot."

Caren said Sassy was lying in the door way bleeding. And standing above her was Florence Police Chief Julie Elliot-Abshire. After a short exchange, Caren said the chief ran to the back yard and shot the other family dog that was locked up, a two year old pit bull named Boomer.

"I asked her what is going on," Caren described, "and she said, um, the b-word, did you not hear me knocking on your front door. And I said no, why did you shoot my dogs?"

Apparently Sassy and Boomer got out of the back yard and walked to the Chevron. A city worker called the cops to report the loose dogs. A family friend put the dogs back into the yard, but Sassy got out again.

"It got out, I'm guilty of that, but it was laying on the porch when she shot it," Louise Vybiral said. 

But what truly frightens this family, one of the shots went into the home. Fragments of a bullet still lie on the windowsill.

"For an officer of the law to come up into your yard, and fire a shot, or to draw her weapon and aim it towards a home. That shot could have hurt my granddaughter or my daughter, you know. I mean the bullet is in my house," Vybiral said. 

"The bullet hole is only two feet from where we were standing, so I mean, it could have been us," added Caren.

KVUE News tried to contact the Florence Police Department, mayor and city council, no one returned our calls or emails. We also went to the police department for comment, but the door was locked.

"She doesn't need to be an officer. She's not upholding the law. Just because she wears a badge doesn't mean she can pull her gun and just shoot anything," Vybiral said.

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office said they are aware that an incident involving the police chief happened in Florence, but it's not their jurisdiction. The Texas Rangers say they are not yet involved in the case. 

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