Mychel Matthews

Times-News reporter Mychel Matthews on June 5, 2013.

I first read about the Filer dog shooting on my day off last week on Magicvalley.com. I didn’t want to watch the video.

When I returned to the newsroom the following day, I was asked to cover the story.

Then I had to watch the video. I thought I would have a chance to look away before Officer Tarek Hassani shot Rick Clubb’s dog Hooch. I didn’t.

After the shock and disgust wore off, I drove to Filer in search of some answers.

I talked to Police Chief Tim Reeves, City Clerk Shari Hart and dog owner Rick Clubb.

But I have been unable to talk to two key people. One is the woman who called in the dog-at-large complaint. The other is Hassani.

I had the address and phone number of the caller. I knocked on her door a few houses away from the Clubb residence. I could hear kids playing inside and dogs barking, but no one answered my knock.

I told the door — in case someone was listening behind it — who I was and why I wanted to talk to someone inside.

Then I tried to reach her by phone. No answer. I left a message, but I still haven’t heard back from her.

I tried to reach Hassani, but I couldn’t find a number for him. I asked the city if I could interview Hassani, and City Attorney Fritz Wonderlich turned down my request.

The city’s insurance company then told Filer officials to say no more about the dog shooting until the investigation is over.

Meanwhile, emails and comments keep pouring in from both sides of the issue. As time goes on, the debate becomes more heated.

Folks on both sides weighed in on animal behavior. Others weighed in on police behavior.

Still others weighed in on abused children and pro-life issues. (Personally, I don’t see the connection between child abuse and the use of deadly force against animals, but apparently some people do.)

Soon, everyone was an expert on dog behavior, animal control and police ethics.

You know the rest of the story: Before long, the story on social media started to bear little resemblance to the real thing.

I’d like to remind everyone that Facebook is not the most reliable source for information.

As Abraham Lincoln might have said, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.

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