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Interview: David Schumann

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 10:57 a.m.

The witness, David Schumann, has been identified as the veterinarian who examined and treated the victim's dog on September 25, 2011, the day the body was discovered. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed the witness in his office located at 2620 West Oxford Loop. The interview was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • David Schumann, DVM

Detective Murphy: Thanks for making the time to see us, Doctor.

David Schumann: No problem. I don't have much time though. I've got two spays and a neuter to whip out before afternoon appointments. And once they get those animals knocked down, I don't have much time to waste.

Detective Armstrong: Knocked down?

David Schumann: Under sedation.

Detective Armstrong: Ah. For the record, can you state your name and address?

David Schumann: My name is David Edward Schumann, I live at 1227 Beanland Drive.

Detective Murphy: You were the doctor who examined Thoreau, a black Labrador Retriever owned by Kimberly Pace?

David Schumann: Yes, Thoreau is my patient.

Detective Murphy: Your patient? Do you mean that you are Thoreau's regular veterinarian or that you saw him on September 25, 2011 because Animal Control requested it?

David Schumann: Yes, Thoreau is my regular patient and no, Animal Control did not request I see the pet. Kimberly's sister, Becky, called me and asked me to take a look at him.

Detective Murphy: So, Rebecca Pace requested the examination independent of Animal Control?

David Schumann: Let's cut through the crap on this issue. Animal Control's job is to "control" the animal population. They don't really give a damn if an animal at a murder scene is sick or not, unless they feel that the animal might threaten or endanger a human's life. Make sense?

Detective Murphy: Yeah, I get it. When did Ms. Pace contact you?

David Schumann: Must have been late that afternoon. The day they found Kimberly. She was hysterical and afraid they'd put the dog down if I didn't go over there and get him. So, I did.

Detective Armstrong: Pretty nice of you to give up your Sunday afternoon to do that.

David Schumann: Believe it or not, vets are just like other doctors ‒ always on call.

Detective Murphy: So, you went down to Animal Control and they released the animal to you?

David Schumann: Not without grief, but yes, they did.

Detective Murphy: And what did you do to treat Thoreau?

David Schumann: I brought him in and pulled some blood and ran a panel. Blood tests.

Detective Armstrong: Any particular reason you decided to run blood tests?

David Schumann: Sure. For one thing, the dog was not his usual self. He was displaying extreme hypersensitivity, he was lethargic, the pupils were dilated. Something was wrong.

Detective Armstrong: What did your blood tests tell you?

David Schumann: Liver enzymes off the chart.

Detective Murphy: What does that mean? What did that indicate to you?

David Schumann: Well, at the very least, he got into something that he shouldn't have.

Detective Armstrong: And at most?

David Schumann: I don't know... I don't like to make statements I can't prove, but it could have been poisoned.

Detective Murphy: Was it your conclusion that Thoreau was poisoned?

David Schumann: Like I said, I can't prove it. Therefore, I can't come to that conclusion. Even if I could, I couldn't tell you what it was or how the dog got it in his stomach. I've seen animals get into all sorts of things. I took a tennis ball out of a Dalmatian's intestines the other day. I don't know what looked worse, the dog or the tennis ball. Had a Beagle who had a corncob blocking his colon. Pets get into household cleaners, old garbage, tennis shoes, any number of things that can do serious damage.

Detective Armstrong: OK, you can't prove it, but you have a theory at least?

David Schumann: Yeah, my theory is that the dog got some sort of drug in his system. And enough of it that it made him very ill.

Detective Murphy: Any ideas on what kind of drug it could have been?

David Schumann: No way to tell. Usually in poisoning cases, the owner tells me because they find the empty bottle of whatever it is. Though even aspirin can be fatal to a dog.

Detective Armstrong: Did you do anything other than test the blood?

David Schumann: I pumped his stomach and administered antibiotics just to be on the safe side.

Detective Murphy: How is Thoreau now?

David Schumann: He's fine. He'll make a complete recovery.

Detective Armstrong: Do you think the fact that the dog was ill or poisoned accounts for his behavior at the scene?

David Schumann: Behavior?

Detective Murphy: The dog wouldn't allow anyone near the body. That's why Animal Control was called in.

David Schumann: Oh... I don't know. It could have. Though it's more likely just the breed.

Detective Armstrong: What about the breed?

David Schumann: Labs, they're very co-dependent animals. They become very attached to their owners. They are also very protective, despite the fact that they are very friendly even to strangers. If their owners are threatened, they will give their lives to protect them. Just part of their psyche.

Detective Murphy: Since you were Thoreau's regular veterinarian, does that mean you also treated Dr. Pace's first dog, Emerson?

David Schumann: Yes, I did.

Detective Armstrong: Didn't that dog die under suspicious circumstances?

David Schumann: Again, you can't prove anything. I suspect Emerson got into something. He was always eating coke bottles and once he got into a bottle of Kimberly's sleeping pills. Labs, they're like the Jaws of the canine world. They eat, chew, gnaw on anything that isn't tied down.

Detective Armstrong: Did Dr. Pace tell you she suspected someone had poisoned Emerson?

David Schumann: Yes. But you have to understand, animal lovers think of their pets as if they were their children. When things happen to them, they look for reasons, things or people to blame. And sometimes, there just isn't anyway to substantiate their beliefs.

Detective Murphy: Did you do blood tests on Emerson?

David Schumann: No. He was already dead when she brought him to me. He'd been dead for two days, lying in the hot sun. The tests wouldn't have yielded much, if anything. I did do a cursory necropsy on him, really just to placate Kimberly. I didn't find any evidence of anything.

Detective Armstrong: Can you think of anything else we should know about either dog?

David Schumann: No, I don't think so. I'm sorry. I really do have to get to those surgeries now.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for your time, Doctor. If you do think of anything, please let us know.

David Schumann: Will do.

End interview: 11:13 a.m.

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