is phoenixville the wild, wild west?

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:

  1.  I wasn’t there
  2. This was recounted to me
  3. Anyone who knows me knows that pit bulls are so not my breed and we will leave it at that.
  4. 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.

Phoenixville seems to have issues.  And it seems they might need to address their issues versus building a platinum coated municipal building, doesn’t it?

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:

Police & Fire

Phoenixville Police Shoot, Kill Threatening Dog

The animal was shot near Barkley Elementary School on Monday.

ByTom Sunnergren

Email the author

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.”

4 thoughts on “is phoenixville the wild, wild west?

  1. I would like to know, as well, if Phoenixville has an animal control or link to the CC SPCA. A few yrs back I had an issue w a neighbors dog being mistreated and when I called the CC SPCA I got nowhere – was told to call the police. The police promptly came out, looked around and reported back to me but there HAS to be a better answer for us. We need or should have some sort of neighborhood watch for mistreated or abused dogs – it is WAY too prevalent and too many people turn the other cheek. How sad that this dog was shot. I would hope like heck that the officer had good reason and did not simply shoot bcse the dog was a pit.

    • Link? On their website? I would ask them at a town meeting. If you see animals being abused you can also contact the Humane Society and other rescues , but if the Chester County SPCA doesn’t have any animal cops, I would *think* you would have to call police. Or you can call Chester County (as in the county seat) and see what is available on a county level. I honestly think you won’t get much out of Phoenixville since the manager is more interested in wasting millions on a new municipal building versus basic services.

  2. Are you people kidding me? This wasen’t a cute puppy wagging its tail. This was an aggressive dog that charged not once but twice. Not to mention it was terrorizing people and property. That brave officer acted to protect the community. The other article I read on this matter also stated that the officer was protecting another civilian by putting himself between the dog and said person. This is what the police are paid to do. Now if the dog would have sent someone to the hospital everyone would be complaining that the cops don’t protect us. There are too many bleeding hearts. And yes I am a dog and cat lover. I would love to see what most people would do when they were put in that stressful situation. Most people would either panic and fire multiple shots probably missing the dog and hitting unintended targets. Or run away scared allowing the dog to continue to terrorize the town and hurt someone. I’m sure that officer didn’t brag about killing the animal. It is on his conscience and he has to feel bad about killing someone’s pet for the better of society. Props to the officer for doing an outstanding job to protect and serve. I appreciate it. It’s a shame that others don’t.

    • I am not a fan of pits or even most pit mixes. However, I am also acutely aware that when it comes to some dogs, people shoot first ask questions later. Yes the police reported why the cop acted, I just heard from someone who happened to be in that vicinity that day that things were a little different than the official version. Yes it was high stress, as some of the people involved I heard did not have a complete grasp of English, true or not?

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment

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