Officer suspended after refusing to shoot skunk that bit child

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MOUNT CARMEL, Tenn. — A police officer in East Tennessee was suspended for three days for refusing to shoot a skunk that had bitten a child.

The Kingsport Times-News reports that Mount Carmel police Officer David Dean violated department policy July 27 when he gave his service weapon to fire Chief Ryan Christian, who killed the skunk so it could be tested for rabies.

Dean, Christian and animal control officer Eddie Seabolt responded to a report of a 6-year-old child who was bitten by the animal. Seabolt says it was Dean’s responsibility to kill the skunk. Mount Carmel prohibits animal control officers from euthanizing animals.

In a written statement, Dean said he told Seabolt it’s difficult for him to shoot animals unless they’re trying to eat him.

The skunk didn’t test positive for rabies.