Someone I know told me a story about Phoenixville the other day. It involved a police officer shooting a dog believed to be a pit bull mix. I am going to preface this entire post with a couple of things:
- I wasn’t there
- This was recounted to me
- Anyone who knows me knows that pit bulls are so not my breed and we will leave it at that.
- Being a police officer or any type of first responder is a very hard job with often the need for difficult decisions to be made.
However, that all being said, drawn guns in neighborhoods when there are people and even children around gives me pause.
So I was told that this dog got out of her owner’s yard. As unpleasant as that can be, it happens. The dog apparently was in an empty lot?
I am one of those people who does not like roaming dogs. At all. But I also know not to confront them.
When I was first out here in Chester County part-time, I actually called the police about two dogs on the lam. The police came out, and were completely calm and got the dogs into the police car and returned them to their owners. No muss, no fuss. And these were big dogs. Not pit bulls, or even pit mixes, but big dogs – and any dog has the potential of reacting negatively in loud, chaotic situations. Especially if the humans around are all tense and upset.
So as it was told to me, the owner of the dog, who by newspaper accounts was a Spanish-speaking woman was trying to get the dog to come to her so she could get her inside, and begging the officer not to shoot her dog? And that some on the scene have said the dog was upset but had not charged? Is it possible in the chaos that this officer made a mistake?
Again, I am not condoning loose dogs AT ALL, but I was also told that this dog was not male, but female and also had dropped a litter of puppies a few weeks ago? Is that true? Because if that is true and the dog was shot close to her home, that could have some bearing on her barking and attitude? Mother dogs will protect their young and their humans if they perceive a threat, won’t they?
It seems for an incident like this that there is a lot out there right away in the media. If the dog was a danger, then the police acted correctly albeit tragically. But, what if this dog was shot needlessly? What if that action was a bit precipitous? What if part of the stress of the situation was a language barrier between responding officer and the Spanish-speaking woman?
I for one would like to know. It kind of freaks me out when people shoot dogs.
Sign me torn on this issue. Can anyone tell me if Phoenixville has an animal control person or a relationship with say the Chester County SPCA or anyone else who could assist in these situations?
I respect the difficult jobs police officers and first responders have. I want no misunderstanding there. But I also know how dogs react when threatened. And if this dog was just scared and was a female who had a litter of puppies close by?
Or if loose dogs are such an issue in Phoenixville then maybe the officials should spend a little more time educating the public on how bad that can be?
Again, sign me torn with many questions. I know many people with what qualify as breeds of dogs that are larger and working. And when I read things like this, it scares me that something like that could happen to their dogs if they accidentally got out.
Here’s the press on this:
A dog that appeared to be part pit bull was shot and killed by Phoenixville Police on Monday after it went on a rampage, The Mercury is reporting. The animal was shot once before later dying at the vet.
The department initially received a call about a brown dog—Chief William Mossman said the animal looked like a large pit bull—barking at people near Valley Forge Self Storage at around 2:50 p.m., but it was gone by the time officers responded. A little over an hour later, officers received another call about the dog, now near Barkley Elementary School.
“It was biting tires on cars, barking,” Mossman told The Mercury. “One lady was too frightened to leave her car. Another guy was in a building. Everybody was basically trapped where they were.”
Mossman said officers located the dog, but it took an aggressive posture and stood its ground….At this point, the dog emerged from behind a hedge formation on the owners’ property. It charged one of the officers, before backing off when he pulled out his gun. With the owner screaming orders at the animal, alternately in English and Spanish….the officer—a former marine—fired a single shot into the animal when it charged a second time.
PHOENIXVILLE — A dog acting aggressively, trapping residents in their cars and homes, forced police to shoot and kill it Monday afternoon.Police Chief William Mossman said the dog, described as being brown with “some pit bull in him but bigger than a pit bull,” charged officers multiple times while growling and barking….A woman driving by in a car told the officers she knew who owned the dog….One of the officers went to the owner’s house nearby. A woman reportedly confirmed she owned the dog but did not know it had gotten out or where it was…..“(The officer) wanted to give the dog every opportunity,” he said. “It’s our responsibility, we have to protect the public. The officer was protecting himself and the crowd.”….Mossman emphasized that there was little to no danger for the public related to the actual firing of the officer’s gun. The officer involved is about six feet tall and was shooting on a down angle so the bullet wouldn’t have gone anywhere if he missed, Mossman said…. Additionally, Mossman said the officer involved is highly trained, a former marine that is also a part of the Northern Chester County Emergency Response Team. “That guy spends more time shooting and qualifying more than anyone,” he said. “We don’t like to shoot our guns in the borough if we can avoid it.”