This week’s Static discusses the police shooting of Lily the border collie, and the training program and potential legislation that were prompted by that tragedy.

Mark and Cindy Boling weren’t available for comment last night as Static was being written, but I spoke at length with Cindy Boling this morning and she remains upbeat despite all she’s been through.

Imagine unloading groceries at your house and a police officer approaches you on your property. He’s responding to a routine copper theft call but ends up at the wrong address — yours.


Your dog (who is like a child to you) barks at the officer, who pulls his gun and shoots your pet in the back. Then you watch it bleed to death.

At first, Cindy and Mark Boling wanted retribution. They wanted Fort Worth police officer Frank Brown fired. But the law gives police officers the option of killing an animal that appears to be a threat. The Bolings figured if Brown were fired, he’d be reinstated or go to another police department.

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? (flickr photo by marianne perdomo)

Police shoot and kill hundreds of dogs a year across the country. There are Facebook pages and websites devoted to exposing lethal actions taken against pets by police. Meanwhile, few police departments offer in-depth training on dealing with animals.

The Bolings switched gears and began advocating for more training. Lo and behold, police Chief Jeffrey Halstead listened, expressed empathy, and established a training program that will eventually reach 800 local patrol officers.

As for Brown, he was reprimanded but not fired.

At first, the Bolings didn’t consider that punishment severe enough. Over time they’ve softened a bit.

“Chief Halstead made [Brown] aware of the horror that was put into our lives,” she said. “He has this one strike and he is aware that he is now known by Chief Halstead as a police officer who did this to a family. He goes to work everyday knowing what he did.”

She’s even seen something promising: “Frank Brown signed up and attended the very first training session,” she said. “He wasn’t told to do that but he did it.”

Boling thinks Brown panicked that day.

“He wasn’t thinking,” she said. “If he would have had training, he would have been thinking. Frank Brown didn’t want that to happen to him anymore than we wanted this to happen to us.”

The Bolings are now looking for a senator or representative to sponsor legislation that requires other police departments to deliver similar training to their officers.

That might be difficult. The training session costs $100 an officer. Halstead put 25 officers through the training, and he will then use those officers to train the rest. So for $2,500 he’s able to train a lot of people.

Still, $2,500 is $2,500. Halstead had to dig up money out of his budget. Lobbyists for municipalities often wince at legislation that calls for cities to implement programs without funding.

“I refuse to lose my optimism,” Boling said.


  1. Thank you for doing this follow up story. I so very much appreciate your accuracy and unbiased reporting. Your inclusion of the website and page links adds volumes to making people aware of the epidemic proportion of these shootings not only in Texas but across our country and the fact that our City is doing something to change the statistics. We will continue to pursue every avenue for change across the State. Remembering Lily A Reason for Change.

    • Cindy Boling! In 2018 I asked Texas “Humane” (???) Legislation Network to help with a simple educational bill to reduce mammary cancer deaths in pets. All 23 or so THLN officials in unison refused to reply. That they did something for you does not make it OK that they acted in 2011 to kill the Texas Companion Animal Protection Act, Texas House Bill 3450, which if passed, would have ended gassing of shelter pets a full two years sooner. So what else has THLN done? They rave how they “ended gassing in 2013” and don’t disclose that they caused it to go on another 2 years Where is the media
      covering this severe awful scandal?

  2. It is terrific that the Fort Worth department is receiving this training. It should be required training for all police officers across the country. My heart continues to go out to Mark and Cindy Boling, and of course to Lily.

  3. The failed attempts at dark humor in some reply posts only shows the ignorance and disrespect some have for life and liberty. Think about it: These innocent people had their dog shot dead right in front of them-on their property- by a reckless, untrained FW cop who was at the wrong address. The bullets glanced off the sidewalk and could have killed or injured them. Yet a few still manage to find humor in another American’s horrific tragedy? God Bless the Bolings for working with FWPD to avoid future tragedies so that other citizens do not expierence this horror. They are more forgiving people than I. Very good article and I hope this message spreads to other law enforcement agencies.

    • OK, just take a deep breath there. I have lots of respect for life and liberty and for pets. We have had foour wonderful rescue dogs over the past twenty years and have lovingly cared for several rescue kitties. We love our pets. We get it. We are devasted when they pass on-usually from old age,– thank heavens. The subliminal message here is that functionaries of the Govt. make bad independent decisions many times and that Govt. isn’t the answer all the time. It is amazing that folks who want more govt in our lives don’t see how toxic that can be and has historically always been…

    • Mail-men, guys puting hand-bills on doors, Jehovahs Witnesses, paper boys, the kid down the street wanting to see if your kid wants to come out to play, or the dunce delivering a pizza to the wrong address rarely shoot a barking pet pooch…only Peckerwood, Repug, Pigs shoot barking pets….why is that? What would JESUS do, why only Peckerwood Pigs taking out pet pooches ????? My sweet bird-dog Roxy is way more smart than you Ms. Jane. Wasn’t that a discontented, lying cop that shot a young Mexican gentleman down like a rabid dog out in the Northside of town a couple of months back? Tax Payers should shell out $100 per Peckerwood-Pig to tell them to not shoot kids pets in the pets own yards? SWEET BLEEDING JESUS ….AREN’T REPUGS PRECIOUS?