MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Memphis firefighter is under investigation by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and now the MFD after ABC 24 News contacted them regarding an accusation of animal abuse.
Timothy Riley is a driver for Station 9; that's on airport property. He's been with the department since 1995. Since Riley hasn't been charged with anything yet, the fire department hasn't punished him. He's at work as usual but the department is gathering information from the Sheriff's investigation.
Skeeter, a chocolate lab retriever, was killed March 9 at a Millington home. Suzy Hollenbach says her father approached the neighbor when he couldn't find his dog, "The guy informed him he did shoot his dog," Hollenbach says, "I guess because the dog had entered his property and trespassed he decided to maliciously kill him. He had steel leg traps set out, he decided to trap the dog and went and shot it point blank in the head."
Hollenbach said the neighbor, Thomas Riley, intentionally set out steel leg traps to catch dogs. After Skeeter was caught and killed, PETA got involved. Kristin Simon is the Senior Cruelty Caseworker for PETA. She says, "It's illegal to set these traps with the intent to catch dogs and it's also illegal to set them in areas where they can pose a risk to non-target animals and to children who might enter the property by accident."
Simon calls the allegations around Skeeter's death, "horrific." Simon explains, "We are also told that the dog, shortly after being caught, was shot in the head but not killed by that shot and was left to suffer for a while, until he was later found and euthanized at a vet's office."
PETA is pushing for the maximum penalty on whatever charges are filed. Neighbors say Riley told deputies that dogs were chasing his chickens and that's why he set the trap. PETA says there's no excuse.
The District Attorney's office is aware of the Sheriff's investigation.