(WJLA) - A Baltimore city police officer, assigned to the 8th District, is on unpaid suspension amidst allegations he beat and strangled his seven-month-old puppy to death.
On Feb. 26, Alec Taylor, 27, a five-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, returned to his apartment along the 13000 block of Castle Boulevard in Silver Spring. Upon entering the unit, Taylor noticed his Jack Russell Terrier, named Rocko, had defecated on the carpet. According to police, Taylor became enraged, beating the untrained dog with a mop, then using his bare hands to suffocate the puppy.
"Using that mop and using his hands to choke that dog until it was obviously dead, I don't think that dog stood a chance," Montgomery County Police Department Officer Rebecca Innocenti said.
According to charging documents, Taylor sent a photo text message of Rocko's "lifeless" body to his girlfriend. The off-duty patrolman then reportedly placed the deceased dog in a nearby garbage dumpster.
Taylor's girlfriend, who was too distraught to speak publicly, asked her boyfriend to retrieve Rocko's body. Around 6:30 that evening, she returned home to find the dog's body in a shoebox on the balcony of their apartment. In tears, the woman drove to a park in nearby Hyattsville where she gave the puppy a proper burial.
"Wow! Police officers don't do such things," neighbor Dylan Brown remarked. "They are the ones supposed to be solving the crimes, not committing them."
On Feb. 28, Taylor's girlfriend reported the crime to police. Montgomery County Animal Service officers located and recovered Rocko's body from the park. Necropsy results determined the dog's cause of death was "acute hemorrhagic shock," likely due to blood loss from liver damage caused by blunt force trauma.
"I think he should be put in jail for a long time," cat owner Rod Mahr remarked. "Animals are no different than children, they're helpless and they depend on us for everything."
On Wednesday, Taylor, with his attorney by his side, turned himself into authorities. The Parkdale High School graduate was transported to Montgomery County's Central Processing Unit, where he was booked and charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and abuse of an animal. The 27-year-old bonded-out of jail hours later. He declined to comment to local media agencies when dropped-off by a taxi cab at his apartment.
A spokeswoman with the Baltimore Police Department tells ABC7, its internal affairs division is investigating the incident alongside Montgomery County. In the interim however, Taylor, who has not criminal record, will remain on unpaid leave.
"Allegations of animal cruelty are taken seriously by the Baltimore Police Department. Over the course of the last year significant emphasis has been placed on developing and training investigators to handle animal abuse incidents in Baltimore," a department statement stated.
"What is the worst that the poor dog could do? Use the bathroom in the house? Just clean it up. How horrible," Brown concluded.