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.