A West Virginia woman has been cleared of a charge of obstruction after stepping between her dog and a police officer who had pulled his gun on the animal.
Tiffanie Hupp, 23, of Waverly, West Virginia, said she believed that Trooper Seth Cook was going to shoot Buddy, a Labrador-Husky mix who was chained in her front yard, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.
Police officers had been called to Hupp’s home after her father-in-law, Clifford Myers, got into an argument with his neighbor at a nearby gas station. When Cook arrived at the residence, he was approached by Buddy, who barked at him. Cook drew his weapon, and Hupp ran to stand between him and the dog.
“I immediately thought, ‘I don’t want [Buddy] to get shot,’” Hupp told the Gazette-Mail.
Hupp’s 3-year-old son reportedly was also outside when the officer pulled his gun.
According to Hupp’s attorney, David Schles, she said, “Don’t do that!” and Cook responded by grabbing her by the arm and violently turning her around, causing her to fall on the grass. Cook stated that she had raised her arms but, based on a cell phone recording by Hupp’s husband, the jury saw that Hupp simply stood between the officer and her pet.
“You’re not obstructing an officer under West Virginia law unless you hinder or obstruct an officer who is performing official duties,” Schles told the newspaper. “Pointing a gun at a dog on a chain is not official duties.”
A jury found Hupp not guilty on Monday.
“I’m glad it’s over with,” Hupp said. “I know it sounds corny, but now I know what justice feels like and it feels pretty darn good.”