Couple says dog died while waiting for ticket

August 14, 2008 10:15:52 AM PDT
San Marcos police are investigating an officer who pulled over a speeding car, then kept the occupants waiting even though they were rushing a dying dog to an emergency veterinary clinic. Michael Gonzalez was allegedly driving 95 mph when he and girlfriend Krystal Hernandez were pulled over after midnight Aug. 5 as they headed south on Interstate 35 toward a clinic in New Braunfels. The teacup poodle, Missy, died while the pair said they waited 20 minutes for Officer Paul Stephens to issue a ticket.

"This was not our finest hour," said San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams. "It was not handled right by our officer, but whether there was a violation of our policy that is subject to punishment, I don't know."

Williams said the department began an investigation after Gonzalez filed a complaint over the incident.

Gonzalez and Hernandez said they pleaded with Stephens to allow them to continue on and later turn themselves in to be ticketed. They also said they offered for Gonzalez to stay behind while Hernandez drove with Missy to New Braunfels.

Hernandez said Stephens responded: "Chill out, it's just a dog, you can buy another one."

The dog had started choking at home, then threw up and went limp.

Gonzalez said Stephens then talked with two other officers on the scene and didn't allow him to leave for 20 minutes. Missy was dead by then, Gonzalez said.

Williams still said Gonzalez should not have been driving so fast.

Gonzalez said he's been told the ticket will be dropped.

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