Cop, Squirrel in a Pepper-Spray Shootout at the Dollar Store

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 07:10 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A Tennessee cop was fired earlier this month after pepper spraying and shooting a squirrel that got loose in a local Dollar General store.

Jody Putnam, a former Mountain City police officer who had been with the department for five years, responded to a Sept. 27 call about a squirrel inside a convenience store in Johnson County.

When Putnam got to the store, the animal was reportedly becoming increasingly agitated due to the stress of the situation, so the officer used mace to try and subdue it.

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The spray irritated customers, who then evacuated the building.

"There was a lot of people that come out and just like me they came out and they were coughing and a hacking," Carl Duffield, who owns the Dollar General where the cop shot the squirrel, told WJHL.com. "It was comical, but I'm sure they didn't feel that way — the customers that came out."

When the pepper spray failed to take down the squirrel, Putnam took out his gun and fired multiple shots, according to The Tomahawk.

It's not clear how many shots were fired — some witnesses reported hearing nothing but the "scream of the squirrel," while others say they heard as many as three shots.

One bystander told police when they reentered the store, they saw the dead squirrel pinned beneath Putnam's shoe.

A subsequent investigation revealed that Putnam failed to file a report on the shooting or tell his supervisor about it, and Mountain City police policy requires a written report on any incident in which an officer fires their weapon.

Because of that, Putnam was fired Oct. 2.

"Through a violation of the police department policy Officer Jody Putnam's employment as a Mountain City Police Officer was terminated by the Board of Mayor and Alderman," Mountain City Mayor Lawrence Keeble said in a statement.

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