Loose Pitbull Might Have Delayed ACO So He Killed Her

There are two sides to every story, as the saying goes.  Here are two versions of events leading to the killing of a Pitbull named Bella by a Cabarrus Co ACO in NC.

From animal control:

A Cabarrus County animal control officer shot and killed a family’s pit bull in the Ridge Crossing subdivision off Pitt School Road Thursday night after a caller said the dog had pinned her and her son and they couldn’t get free.

The officer shot the dog after other law enforcement officers told him it had acted aggressively toward them, Animal Control Sgt. Bryan Archer said this afternoon.

From the dog’s owner:

The officer used excessive measures toward Bella who he admittedly had shown no signs of aggression. She was afraid and would not come close to him as he was trying to catch her with a catch pole. Witnesses say that the AC officer then got his gun.

Witnesses say that Bella was shot in the back side while running away. She screamed really loud and continued to try and run; then she fell.


We called and spoke with Animal Control when they opened the following morning at 8:00 a.m. We were told to come at noon. The officer that shot her showed zero remorse, compassion, respect, or humanity. We asked the officer: “Did she show any signs of aggression towards you or the other officers at anytime during this 20 minutes?” The officer replied: “no, she did not” we asked: “then why did you shoot and kill her? Animal Control officer replied: “what do you want me to do, stay there for 3 hours? I have other calls to get too!” “I’m not going to leave a Pit Bull running around a neighborhood.”

I don’t know that either version of events is false, in fact both could be true without contradicting each other.  I am inclined to think that’s the case.  But what a shame.

I don’t know the dog involved in this case but I know that if one of my dogs got loose, he would be afraid of a police office or ACO approaching him because that person would be a stranger.  We live in a rural area and rarely get visitors.  My dogs are homebodies, like me, and don’t get out much.  I have no doubt that if one of my dogs somehow ended up roaming the streets, he would be very out of sorts and certainly wary of a stranger approaching.  If that stranger had a catch pole – forget about it.

As far as the ACO’s explanation that he didn’t have time to try to capture the dog because he had other calls to attend to – well great-gosh-a-mighty – what dedication to service!  This ACO is so intensely driven to answer his calls in a timely manner that he would literally kill someone’s pet who was delaying him in order to get to that next call.  This is a rare public servant indeed.

But to answer his question as to whether I expect him to stay there for 3 hours – in a word, yes.  Yes, I do.  I expect him to use good judgment and his experience confronting loose dogs and determine if the dog is an actual threat.  (From the limited info we have, it seems like the dog was not an imminent threat to anyone.)  I expect him to ask folks in the neighborhood if they know where the dog lives and to follow up on that.  I expect him to humanely catch the dog and, if unable to do so, to call for assistance from someone who can humanely catch her.  As a last resort, I would expect him to call in someone trained in tranquilizing loose dogs in order to effect the humane capture of the dog.  If it takes longer than 20 minutes, I expect him to stay until the job is done.  That’s what taxpayers are paying him for – to do his job humanely, not to needlessly kill someone’s pet in order to move on to the next call.

Does Cabarrus County pay their animal control officers by the number of calls they answer or what?  [Insert image of crashed Domino’s delivery car here]  Does anyone in the community feel reassured by the idea that this ACO will answer your call in a timely manner even if it means he’ll be killing your neighbor’s pet to get there?

The only thing that might save my dog in this situation is that perhaps, just perhaps, an ACO might think it sounded ridiculous using “I’m not going to leave a Beagle running around a neighborhood!” as an excuse for shooting the dog in the back.  No such luck for Pitbulls, unfortunately.

8 thoughts on “Loose Pitbull Might Have Delayed ACO So He Killed Her

  1. another reason ACO’s should NOT carry weapons that kill..there are too many weapons on the hands of people who have “authority” but not training. How much training did that ACO have?? Little to none I would expect..both in weapon control and in “dog sense”. Now a dog is dead.. again for no reason because some ACO could not be bothered to do his/her job..I suspect that those “other calls’ might have something to do with donuts/coffee

  2. I have to question the phone call animal control allegedly received. How is it that a woman and her son are pinned underneath one dog unable to get free…but manage to make a phone call as it was happening and escape uninjured? I seriously doubt the legitimacy of that call or the officer’s claim that the dog showed aggression that warranted him shooting and killing her. There has got to be a law suit in this. This is a good time for ‘probono animal rights lawyer’ to ride in on their stallion and make an example of this trigger happy sh*t for brains. Now I know I’m a dreamer…

  3. I saw this earlier today and my heart bled for the owners and for that poor dog. She was just frightened! I believe the witnesses and owner who both said the officer admitted she showed him NO aggression. This is disgusting. When I first got my shepherds (both rescues), I ddin’t have a decent fence as my beautiful Lass (mostly flat coated retriever) would no more put a paw outside our yard as bite someone (NEVER). We immediately began erecting an 8 foot wooden fence and watched the dogs like hawks … but one day (before the fence was done) they got out of an improperly closed back door and took off – it HAPPENS – accidents happen. So sad this dog had to die. I was lucky enough to have a woman two streets over capture mine and call (in addition to being microchipped, I have tags on their collars with their names and our phone number).

  4. Most people with dogs Ecspecially large dogs have stories of their dogs getting loose. (mine just got out the window last week)IT DOES HAPPEN!!!! Bella although I have not met her,I have seen her videos on youtube and fell in love with her. Any one with has any question about this dog has got to see the video.The one with the kids petting her in the park or the one with the 30 pound little 3 year old walkng her down the street.God I wish my dogs would behave like that.R.I.P. Bella!! KARMA to that “officer”

  5. Am I just totally confused because I thought it was against the law to discharge a fire arm in the city limits??? Does this aco have a permit to carry a gun???I find that hard to believe since he more than likley did not go through BLET. There are so many “wrongs” with the actions of this officer(used very lightly)but experience has shown me that when your heart is effected by a story NO ONE LISTENS!! So I thought I should post something based on the legal side. Will it make a difference? That remains to be seen,but I believe that any attempt to hold this idiot accountable for his sensless actions is worth it!

    1. If I recall correctly, the owners did mention this in their posting/petition, saying the discharging of the gun wasn’t included in the official report. It sounded to me as if the owners were keen on pursuing that aspect of the situation in addition to the loss of their dog.

  6. The sad truth is law enforcement has zero tolerance when it comes to pits or any breed/type of dog they deem dangerous.
    As guardians of these types of dogs, we must be extra vigilant when it comes to their safety, environment and situations.

    Tragic story.

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