Another Baltimore police officer charged with animal cruelty in death of dog in Canton

BALTIMORE - Another veteran Baltimore police officer has been charged with animal cruelty stemming from the death of a dog in Canton, online court records show.

Thomas Joseph Schmidt, 52, of Abingdon, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, animal cruelty and malfeasance in office for his role in death of Nala, a 7-year-old Shar Pei. Baltimore police believe Schmidt's partner, officer Jeffrey Bolger, slit the dog's throat on June 14 after the two members of the Emergency Services Unit were called to assist with the dog who had bitten woman in Highlandtown. 

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Bolger was arrested and charged on June 18 with felony animal cruelty. Charging documents indicate Bolger was the officer who cut the dog's throat, while Schmidt held it down. The same documents also suggest that the dog was under control when the two officers arrived.

A witness was quoted in the statement of charges saying he or she overheard Bolger say "I'm going to gut this f------ thing." 

Schmidt was placed on paid administrative leave on June 19. 

“I am relieved that he is going to be charged,” Sarah Gossard, the dog’s owner, said. “He needs to be held accountable for this actions even if he didn’t hold the knife.”

Gossard said the death of her dog has weighed more heavily on her in the two weeks since Nala escaped her fenced in backyard in Canton.

“It’s really getting a bit harder because as things slow down the reality of it sets in more,” Gossard said. “I’ve been going a mile a minute with interviews, emails and setting up the fundraiser. When it slows down it just hits me more.”

Gossard organized a fundraiser at Midtown Barbecue and Brew last week to collect donations for animal rights groups. The event was attended by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. 

“It was a huge success,” Gossard said. “The mayor came and we raised a good amount of money. Lots of people came out and even brought their dogs. That part made me happy.”

About $1,200 was raised and will be donated to Defender of Animal Rights, North American Shar Pei Rescue and Noah’s Arks Rescue.

Schmidt's trial is scheduled for July 28 at 8:30 a.m. He was released Thursday after posting $75,000 bond, online court records show.

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