UPDATE 04/09/09: Voters in a southeast Kansas town re-elected their mayor, even though he faces felony charges for allegedly killing another man's dogs. McCune Mayor Don Call was returned to office by a 3-1 margin in voting Tuesday, despite the charges and his status as a write-in candidate. Call said community members supported his actions (in shooting the dogs). He reportedly shot the dogs after a neighbor complained that the animals chased his children and that Crawford County deputies had not acted on previous complaints.
02/11/09: Mayor Believed Dogs Were Vicious
McCune, KS - McCune, Kansas (population about 435) continues to make headlines. Last week, Mayor Don Call, shot and killed two dogs after a neighbor complained the dogs had chased his children. Call now faces two felony counts of animal cruelty and one misdemeanor count of criminal discharge of a weapon. At a recent city council meeting, about 70 people showed up, many of them in support of Call. Resident Shirley Showalter said, "We all should be proud we have a mayor like Don Call that will take care of us and protect our kids.''
Prior to the shooting, Sheriff’s department records show that four calls were made about Duane Wahl’s dogs for being aggressive and running loose. The department did respond, but the situation did not improve. According to Call, more complaints were made and the city also sent letters to Wahl. Call said he told his neighbor on January 12 that if the dogs were found running loose again, he would shoot them. That's exactly what he did after the Gomez family called and said the loose dogs tried to rip through their screen door.
After the shooting, there was then the issue of "lawful" disposal of the dogs, which it appears Call did not follow. Simultaneously, as deputies began investigating, a grass fire broke out near McCune. The deputy was needed to help shut down U.S. 400 near the site of the fire and did not arrest Call because of the danger created by the grass fire. Shortly thereafter, a media blitz of the shooting followed (even the Wall Street Journal picked it up) and the story filled out. Call said the dogs were loose when he shot them. Wahl said the dogs were chained up.
The drama continues to unfold.
No matter which side of the story you fall upon, it is important to point out that 4 calls to the Sheriff’s office were made prior to the shooting. Additionally, the City of McCune sent Wahl several letters concerning his dogs. Exactly how far do citizens, and in this case the mayor, have to bend over backward for an irresponsible dog owner and arcane dog laws prior to a serious mauling? The story of McCune represents a frustration that is felt across the nation. From this incident, we hope that city and county officials truly recognize this frustration.
05/16/08: Oregon Bicyclist in Serious Condition After Loose Dog Encounter
10/18/08: Rottweiler Inflicts 3,000 Stitches on Victim; Judge Frees Dog
07/15/08: Man Attacked in Groin; Officials Still Determining if Dog is "Vicious"