Police: Former cop assaulted hunter who killed his dog

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02/09/2011 1:55 PM |
Daniel Lamphere

COURTESY PHOTO | A photo of hunter Daniel Lamphere taken by a friend at Peconic Bay Medical Center’s emergency room shows injuries allegedly inflicted during an altercation in Mattituck in January.

A retired Suffolk County policeman was charged with felony assault two weeks ago, accused of wrestling a shotgun from a hunter in Mattituck who had just shot and killed the former cop’s dog and striking the man on the head with it, sending the 63-year-old upstate resident to the hospital.

Jon Ferris, 49, of Mattituck, entered a plea of not guilty to second-degree assault in Southold Justice Court on Jan. 27. He was released in his own custody and is scheduled to return to court Feb. 25.

Called to the scene by Mr. Ferris, police found the hunter, Daniel Lamphere of Rensselaer, N.Y., on the ground with a head injury. The Mattituck Fire Department rescue squad brought Mr. Lamphere to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment. Police said Mr. Lamphere’s wound required 11 staples to close.

Mr. Ferris had been walking his three dogs unleashed when one reportedly approached Mr. Lamphere, who was deer hunting with a friend on parkland south of the Farmveu neighborhood, according to police.

Mr. Lamphere told investigators that the dog, a German shepherd, attacked him and he shot and killed it.

Mr. Ferris, who is licensed to carry a handgun, drew his weapon and approached Mr. Lamphere, pointing the gun at him, according to police. There was an altercation, during which Mr. Ferris took the shotgun from Mr. Lamphere and hit him on the head with the stock butt, police said.

Mr. Lamphere, in a phone interview, said three dogs had approached him in the field just before 9 a.m. that morning. He managed to shoo away two but the German shepherd “came at me full blast with his teeth showing and I fired from the hip,” he said.

He claimed that Mr. Ferris, after approaching with his pistol aimed at him, kicked him and hit him with the butt of his shotgun multiple times.

“I was struck seven or eight times,” he said. “It was a nightmare.”

Mr. Lamphere said he’d had a heart attack in August followed by quadruple bypass surgery. His hunting partner, George Duell of East Berne, N.Y., who had hunted in Mattituck before, had suggested he accompany him to Long Island as a respite from cabin fever.

“I was just trying to go hunting and enjoy myself,” he said. “But you won’t see me down there anymore.”

No charges have been filed against Mr. Lamphere, who said he had permission to hunt in that area. Southold Police took both weapons as evidence.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is conducting its own investigation.

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6 Comment

  • You must be a dirty cop also to think that’s ok .. to beat someone.your a bigger moron thn mr ferris. This is bigger than your little town ..truth will provail

  • *pistol. Retired police as well as off duty officers carry their weapons almost everywhere. It’s a part of the police brutality and blue wall.

  • I know the dog in question and the others as well as the others and I know Mr. Ferris and I know the property in question having walked it many times with him. This was one great dog. I have known this dog since it was a puppy. I was so impressed with the calm disposition of this German Shepherd that I obtained a similar one from the same breeder and with the same results…GREAT DOG !! Mr. Ferris’ dog was submissive to humans and I would have no problem having my children around this dog, unattended. He was well behaved and a loving member of the family as are all the pets in the home. Never ever have I seen this dog growl or act in an aggressive manner to any person or animal. It was not in his nature and certainly not part of his temperament. Mr. Ferris has every right and expectation to walk his dogs and he did in the same area daily, in back of his home. This day a totally irresponsible hunter (if you can call him that) was lying in wait and shot the dog broadside (as noted in the animal’s autopsy) as he came walking around a treed corner. That hunter (idiot) shot at the first thing that made a noise. He had a scope on his shotgun. It was 8:50 AM in the morning. Full light. Make no mistake this dog did not attack anyone but was ambushed by a fool with a gun. This great dog never had a chance. Mr. Lamphere was hunting on county property where he should not have been, was in FULL CAMOUFLAGE, instead of wearing some hunter orange and was hunting within with a loaded firearm too close to a residence as prohibited by law. Mr. Lamphere upon shooting the dog broadside (and I have never see a dog run sideways when attacking) then raised the gun to Mr. Ferris when confronted on his actions. Mr. Ferris has every right to defend himself against such actions. If you are going to kill a man’s dog, his pet, his friend and then point the gun at him then you get what you deserve. Mr. Lamphere should have complied with the instructions to put his weapon down, show some regret and man up to say it was a terrible accident. If your life is in danger you either do what you have to in order to survive or you don’t and you’re dead. Mr. Ferris acted the way we all hope we would when confronted with a life and death situation.
    As for Mr. Ferris and the quality of the man. There are no better. He’s a longtime member of the Suffolk County Police Department, now retired. I can personally attest to the outstanding quality of the man. Sounds like a few people on this posting have an axe to grind with Suffolk PD perhaps. In any case check your facts before you judge anyone.

  • Many teachers do pay 15% towards their medical already and 10% of their salary for 10 years into their retirement. The Teachers Pension System is 75% self supporting (through current teacher contributions and the return on investment). To attack teachers with this nasty resentment is wrong. It is an extremely demanding job that is totally not understood by people who don’t teach. With that said, in these hard times, teachers do need to take wage freezes….not because they don’t deserve raises, but because the money is simply not there. Teachers are very deserving and when things turn around, we need to remember to take care of the educators. As far as $1 million library…ridiculous.

  • Correction- it is a 3% contribution for 10 years into the retirement system.

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