Local News

Dogs Shot After Chatham County Deputy Mauled

Posted August 1, 2003

— There was finger pointing in Chatham County Thursday night after a deputy was mauled and a family's pets were shot -- one of them killed.

Rebecca Barber had no idea that accidentally setting off her home security alarm would lead to three of her dogs being shot.

A Chatham County sheriff's deputy was severely mauled by five large boxers as she responded to the alarm activation at Barber's home near Pittsboro.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m.

"I had done my code, and I did what I was supposed to do to cancel it, and then I left," Barber said.

But the alarm went off.

At 7:48 a.m., Chatham County Communications received an alarm activation call at 591 Hills of the Haw Road. A deputy responded to the scene and, while out checking the premises, was attacked by the dogs.

A worker on the Barbers' property tried to warn the deputy about the dogs close to the house, and he also called Barber on her cell phone.

"Tell them do not go because of the dogs," Barber said she told him.

But the deputy didn't get the warning fast enough.

"You know, she comes too close to the house," worker Gabriel Catalan said of the deputy.

Said Chatham County Sheriff Richard Webster: "She received punctures to her left arm and to her right thigh. At last check, she had 28 stitches."

In the 10 minutes it took Barber to return home, the deputy had been bitten, and back-up officers had shot three of the dogs.

One of the dogs died.

"I wasn't here," Barber said. "But I think they jumped the gun a little bit."

According to authorities, the deputy attempted to retreat to her vehicle when she saw the dogs. She used a flashlight and pepper spray against the animals, but with little effect.

A work crew nearby beat the dogs off of the officer with sticks until the officer was able to get to the patrol vehicle. Then the work crew had to run after the dogs chased them.

Backup officers responded immediately. While setting up a perimeter for rescue personnel, they also attacked and shot three of the animals to secure the area.

The Barbers thought they had taken the appropriate measures to warn the public about their dogs. In addition to a fence around the property, they have invisible fencing and "Beware of the Dog" signs lining the property.

"You know, it is difficult these days for any dog owner," said Animal Control Supervisor Randie Russell. "You're stepping into dangerous territory; there's a tremendous liability risk."

That risk played out Thursday at the Barbers with the simple trip of an alarm.

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