Farmer and rancher Cole Middleton was forced to drown his beloved cow dog, Candy, when she was shot and mortally wounded by a Texas sheriff's deputy.
Middleton spoke with Politix about the shooting and the case he and his wife Jayna are building against Jerred Dooley, the Rains County Sheriff's deputy who shot Candy.
Cole and Candy Middleton fishing.
Middleton is a third generation dairy farmer, and like all people who work the land, he's very busy.
I'm stepping off a tractor right now to talk to you... but it's no problem. This has to be done.
It's practically impossible to overstate how much Middleton loves Candy - he still speaks about her in the present tense, often referring to her as his "baby." But the trained cow dog was much more than just a beloved pet, she was a skilled worker who played a key role in day to day operations on the farm.
If you ask me who gets voted employee of the year, it's Candy every year. All day long, when I clock in she clocks in... that's why she stays in the back of daddy's truck, and that's why she was there when [Dooley] pulled up.
Candy Middleton herding cows on Christmas, 2013.
She makes work so much easier... like two men, maybe even three men because she can cover so much ground herding cows... a job that used to take me five minutes with Candy took me about an hour to do without her... cows respect people but they show a little bit more respect to a dog, but especially a dog like Candy.
Deputy Dooley has repetitively insisted Candy attacked him, but the findings of an autopsy on the dog clearly refute his version of events.
The trajectory of the bullet can best be described as... from the back of the head towards the nose. These findings suggest that Candy was shot while retreating from the shooter.
Candy Middleton examining a rabbit.
Middleton told Politix that the report just confirms what he's known all along, and he said Dooley needs to lose his badge for what he did to Candy.
I don't know what to say other than something needs to be done. Some action needs to be taken. Obviously the officer needs to lose his job ... this type of behavior does not need to happen at all and if somebody displays it he needs to be removed. He let her suffer and he didn't have to.
Middleton said he and his wife were considering several attorneys to pursue their case, and they have set up a fundraising page for their legal expenses after many supporters on the Justice for Candy Middleton Facebook page suggested creating one. The page emphatically promises that all money will be used in good faith.
The money raised will ONLY be used to help in the fight for seeking justice for Candy. Any money not used WILL be given to a charitable cause that will help animals!!! This is a guarantee!!!
Candy waiting for Cole in a tractor.
No representative from the Rains County Sheriff's Department could be reached by Politix at time of publishing, but Dooley has been placed on administrative leave and Sheriff David Traylor has said the matter is under investigation.
Middleton and the rest of his family are still coming to grips with the loss of Candy.
It's a loss, an absolute loss and it hurts because she's a member of my family.
UPDATE: Deputy Dooley has been terminated, but Sheriff Traylor claims it is for the deputy's safety because of threats against him stemming from Candy's death. Neither Dooley or the department have acknowledged any wrongdoing.