published Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

East Ridge animal services supervisor suspended

The supervising officer of East Ridge's animal services department has been suspended with pay after getting arrested Sunday morning.

Chattanooga police say several neighbors called soon after midnight Sunday to report that one person was assaulting another person at 2 Rivervista Drive. There, officer Almir Dizdarevic found 37-year-old Jonathan Hunt Cooper and his wife, Sara Cooper, 35, lying on the ground.

Both were cut, bruised and bloodied, according to an arrest report. Some neighbors told police they saw a fight; others said they heard one. Neither Jonathan nor Sara Cooper said they hit each other. They both said they got hurt when they fell.

Both were later charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and assault, and both are due in Sessions Court in front of Judge Gary Starnes on Dec. 12.

Interim City Manager Freida Wheeler said Jonathan Cooper is indefinitely suspended. City officials won't make a final decision about whether Cooper can get his job back until after his criminal case plays out and the East Ridge Police Department conducts an internal investigation.

Cooper is one of three full-time workers at the animal services department. Part-time workers and volunteers also help.

In Cooper's absence, some police officers will work in the animal services office. If needed, Wheeler said, these officers will also help in the field to make sure the city does not have to pay some employees overtime.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com

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