SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office released more details after a donkey was shot by a county contractor.

A donkey on the loose in Milton was shot by a county contractor Tuesday, April 12. The donkey was shot and killed near Deaton Bridge. Phillip Hayes, the contractor, was arrested for shooting the animal.

Hayes was contracted by the SRCSO to deal with the donkey. A Sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene at about 12:20 p.m. and the contractor arrived at 12:57 p.m. The contractor told the deputy he “[didn’t] need a deputy anymore” and that he “had everything under control,” according to a news release from the SRCSO.

The deputy, who knew that Hayes did not bring any equipment for capturing the donkey, left the scene. About two hours later, Hayes called dispatch at 1:50 p.m. to ask to put the donkey to sleep, according to the release.

Lt. Phillips, the District Lieutenant of Milton, gave the contractor authorization to put the donkey to sleep for capture. Phillips did not authorize the contactor to kill the donkey, according to his written report. Phillips believed Hayes would tranquilize the donkey and put it to sleep for capture. Phillips and dispatch were told by Hayes that the donkey was a danger and it would possibly run into the road.

Phillips did not know that the contractor was going to shoot the donkey with a gun, according to the release. Phillips also did not know that the contractor did not bring equipment for capture. Phillips was later told by deputies on scene that the contractor did not bring a trailer or any equipment to catch the donkey.

Emmily Girardot, who works in the area, reported the donkey. Girardot said she offered Hayes an halter to use to contain the donkey. Hayes refused to take it.

“(The donkey) was nowhere near the road,” said Girardot. “It was not showing any aggression.” 

Before dispatch transferred the contractor to Phillips, the contractor told dispatch he didn’t bring equipment to catch the donkey. Although the contractor did not directly state that he would kill the donkey, he hinted at killing the donkey using euphemisms, according to the release.

He told dispatch that the was “fixin’ to pile this donkey up” and that he “was going to make it disappear,” according to the release. Phillips also told dispatch that he thought the donkey “Wasn’t worth but $10,” according to the release.

Philips called dispatch at 1:50 p.m. and was later transferred to the sheriff. Hayes shot the donkey after speaking to dispatch and Phillips, according to the release. The news release did not say when the donkey was shot.

When asked why the donkey was shot and no trailers were used to capture the donkey, the dispatcher “misspoke” and said the law enforcement chose the best course of action to deal with the donkey.

“This dispatcher misspoke on the details of the incident and gave a general answer to what she believed to have occurred.”

Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office News Release
Dispatch explains to caller why the Donkey was shot

Girardot said the incident wasn’t handled well.

“It was handled improperly. There should have been multiple people out there. There should have been more than just one person that was sent out to help contain the animal,” said Girardot. “The animal was not posing a danger to others. It was in a place where it was safe. It was calm. It just wanted to be left alone.”