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More discrepancies discovered in case of deadly dog shooting by Nevada deputy

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 21:31:12-04

Contact 13 continues to uncover discrepancies in the case of a deadly dog shooting by a Nye County deputy. 

Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has been closely following the case since she first broke the story last week.

RELATED: Disturbing new details uncovered in death of dog shot by deputy

Discrepancies we're uncovering involve the internal investigation of the deputy and the handling of the dog's body by Animal Control. 

Both have critics concerned about a cover-up.

On April 10, Nye County Sheriff's Deputy John Tolle went to Gary Miller's Pahrump home to check out multiple panic alarms -- which turned out to be false. 

In the 12 seconds it took Gary to answer the door, Tolle shot and killed his pet pit bull, Blu, as Blu was jogging toward the deputy along the side of the house.

On the body cam video Contact 13 obtained, the following exchange takes place as Gary comes out the front door:

Gary Miller: Did you shoot my dog?
Dep. Tolle: He just attacked me!
Gary: You shot my dog?!
Tolle: He's attacking me!

The sheriff's office put that version of events in a press release, but the body cam video showed the deputy's story didn't add up. 

Internal Affairs investigated, but Sheriff Sharon Wehrly told us the case was closed when we interviewed her on May 19.

"So, after it was all said and done," Sheriff Wehrly said Dep. Tolle, "has been remediated with 24 hours of hands-on training with bad dogs."

Amid public outcry after our first story aired, the sheriff put out another press release hours beforeour second story was set to air.  It said the internal investigation was still ongoing. 

We questioned that and the NCSO sent a statement Tuesday, saying,  "Sheriff Wehrly believed at the time of her discussion with you that the investigation was completed. Shortly after your interview with her, Undersheriff Moody resigned and she discovered that there were portions of the investigation that were not completed because they were pending in his queue. Upon his departure, she has tasked those items for completion and they are being concluded."

During our May interview, Wehrly said, "On this particular investigation, what would I have done if I'd been in that position? I couldn't tell you. But then, I've been around dogs my whole life. He'd never been around dogs in his whole life."

That's another discrepancy Contact 13 uncovered. 

Dep. Tolle's neighbors say he himself owned a dog when he first moved to Pahrump, but recently gave it away.

When we questioned the sheriff's office about that, they responded, "Any information relating to Tolle’s personal dog interactions is either a part of the IA or personal information. Obviously the IA portion can’t be discussed. I did speak to Tolle on your behalf to see if he wanted to share that information individually and he declined to comment."

"He didn't have either enough training or self control to not shoot my dog," Miller said.

There's also the matter of how Blu's body was handled. 

A Nye County Animal Control officer blamed a shelter worker for failing to put a hold tag on the dog, so its body was cremated, preventing further investigation. 

But Contact 13 received an email Monday night from Dina Williamson-Erdag, executive director of the shelter -- Desert Haven Animal Society. 

In the email, she writes, The remains of Mr. Miller's dog were never under the possession or control of the personnel at the animal shelter. The Animal Control officer handled the remains."

"It adds insult to injury," said Miller. "It's bad enough that they shot my dog without cause."

The Animal Control officer is now under investigation himself for questions regarding his responsibility in tagging Blu's body at the shelter, and for bringing Gary Miller fake ashes that he claimed were Blu's remains.

"I'm very deeply hurt because I thought at least they did this -- they brought the ashes so that I could keep them.  But I don't even have that."

We're learning more about what else Deputy Tolle may have done wrong when he arrived at Gary's house to respond to the panic alarms. We'll have much more as our investigation continues.