North Carolina EMS worker fired for mutilating family’s dead dog
POLK COUNTY, N.C. — A Polk County employee has been fired following an investigation into the mutilation of a family’s dead dog, according to WLOS.
Michael Purdy was fired from his position as an EMS worker for “unacceptable and detrimental personal conduct,” according to the county manager.
The county manager shared Purdy’s termination letter with WLOS, which states that Purdy illegally and inappropriately took and mutilated an animal and then lied to officials investigating the incident.
The dog was a 9-year-old Shiloh Shepherd named Goliath belonging to a Polk County family who wants to remain anonymous.
The family first reported Goliath missing but says they then learned he was accidentally hit and killed by an ambulance responding to a call on Peniel Road on Sunday, January 9.
What happened next is why a criminal investigation was opened by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The family says Purdy, an off-duty EMS worker, did not hit Goliath, but he’s who ended up with him.
“I’ve been told that he was picked up off the side of the road, brought to the hospital, playing as a joke to all the people that it’s a wolf, but to me, it sounded like he knew it was a dog,” a family member said. “I would’ve never thought somebody would hit him and pick him up thinking he’s a wolf after looking at him up close even though he had shaved legs and a shaved underbelly.”
The family says a collage of photos of Goliath dead in the back of a truck was text messaged to them after it was posted on Facebook.
“The caption was ‘next time someone tells you that wolves don’t exist in western North Carolina…’ and then it stops there,” a family member said. “He was taken to the guy’s house and skinned and pinned out like he was going to mount him or something.”
The family said Goliath was mutilated and decapitated when he was finally returned to his family for a proper burial days later.
However, returning Goliath to his family was difficult because officials say Purdy and others involved have been lying about what happened.
“It’s been really traumatic on some of the my employees who were initially trying to locate this lost dog,” Sheriff Donald Hill said.
“It’s that much more like a family member, a cherished family member that you come home to every night and that makes it extremely hard,” Chris Beddingfield, the Columbus police chief, said. “A lot of emotions and tough, tough things to deal with.”
The district attorney, Greg Newman, is looking at possible charges. Right now, Newman says his hands are tied with no state statute that speaks to the mutilation of an animal’s carcass.
This is an ongoing investigation.