Local News

Police Wounding of Family Dog Shocks Owners

Posted December 26, 2006
Updated December 27, 2006

— A Raleigh family is very upset because a Raleigh police officer shot a family dog on their front porch, where the family says the dog was leashed.

The good news is that the dog, an 11-year-old chocolate Lab named Truman, is at home recovering.

Meredith Phillips, who owns Truman, says it all started on Christmas at her parents' house when she leaned down to kiss her parents' dog

"I thought she was awake and she was asleep, and when she woke up, she nicked me on the cheek,” Phillips said.

Phillips needed three stitches at Rex Hospital to close the wound, and officials there required a report about the dog bite before she could leave. The hospital reported the incident to city police, and Officer R.A. Smith went to the house on Edgemont Drive shortly afterward.

"I was in the den watching a movie with my son-in-law and we heard a pop on the front porch," Phillips father, David Faircloth, said.

"He said, ‘Yes I shot your dog,’ and she said, 'Why?' and he said, 'He came after me.' I said, ‘He couldn't come after you. He's on a leash.'”

Truman survived with only a ruptured eardrum after the bullet passed through the side of his head.

“My sister equates his temperament to a bunny rabbit,” Phillips said while stroking Truman. “We know Truman could never be a guard dog."

The police department is reviewing the shooting and Smith's actions.

A statement released Wednesday said the matter is being treated seriously and is a high priority.

"Every time a Raleigh Police Department officer discharges his or her weapon, a thorough investigation of the incident is conducted. That is true in this case, and the department is expediting the review of the circumstances surrounding the incident that occurred December 25," the statement said. "When all of the details have been completely investigated, additional information will be made available. This matter is being treated seriously, and the review of it is being given a high priority."

The family saved the bullet and the collar that it blew off. They say their vet bills are already over $2,000, and they are considering what to do next.

For now, however, the family and friends just want Truman to get better.

Smith, 23, has been employed with the Raleigh Police Department since July 2005.

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  • geowilrlst Dec 29, 2006

    LMFAO ! This whole Blog should be sent to the tonight show for a skit !

  • forliberty06 Dec 28, 2006

    tfaust92, I am retired from Law Enforcement and making over $100K in IT. How many 23 year old coppers can you pay on my salary? At least I can say that I put my time in and am entitled to be an "armchair quarterback." What is your entitlement? Luckily I had a Bachelor's, Master's and Law Degree under my belt and did not have to do the mundane work of a 23 year old punk. I was on a Gang Task Force Unit during the crack epidemic. Highly specialized in hand to hand, a mastery of thug life, gang infiltration, extractions and the Spanish language. I didn't have to wear the silly haircuts and attire of a traffic cop (Thank GOD!). I got shot at and stuck enough without looking like an idiot.

  • str8-line Dec 28, 2006

    I would not be looking for a chain around a dogs neck if it was coming at me. This incident happened right at dusk. Maybe the officer did not see the chain the dog was on. Do you really believe this police officer shot the dog out of spite?

  • tfaust92 Dec 28, 2006

    conejito, I am sure you were the best police officer that ever worked in the great state of ny, how else would you be able to judge others so well. Maybe you should contact the Raleigh police dep and offer them training on which laws we should enforce and how to handle any situation. Don't play semantics? great emphasis with the multiple exclamation points. way to make people listen!!!!(i outdid you by one)

  • kat Dec 28, 2006

    dclark, like I said earlier, there is a tendency to rush to judgment in people like you who get their info from the media and hype surrounding a story. You proved my point when you called the officer "trigger happy."

  • conejito00 Dec 28, 2006

    Thank you dclark!!! As for luvmydocs, I am sick and tired of seeing criminals go free... I am equally disgusted by single issue politics that crossover into what becomes "police politics..." You are one of those "thorns in the side" that need everything spelled out for you, so here we go... Open container laws, illegal immigrants, hiding behind a dumpster smoking a joint, the patriot act (of which I would like to roll into a ball of toilet paper!!!)!!! Need I go on??? I am talking about Liberty and Freedom for law abiding citizens... Some laws are really dumb... Read my prior posts!!! I hate to repeat myself. I am a former L.E. Officer from NY. Some laws ARE more important. Like Gang Violence, which is running rampant here. Don't play semantics with me!!!

  • dclark Dec 28, 2006

    What else is there to know? What else is there to investigate?
    What do you want them to do, send more cops over there to... do what ? Shoot the other dog? The cops did'nt really shoot the right dog, did they. Maybe they need more time to come up with a plan on how to shoot the right dog, you know, the one that bit the lady.There is only one side to the shooting, the dog can't testify, the people inside said the heard the shot, they didn't see the shooting. I understand people make mistakes, use bad judgement, like.. screw up sometimes. My beef is the way cops don't have to pay for their mistakes, they most of the time just bury them.

  • luvmydocs Dec 28, 2006

    And you say that as a society we should be allowed to do whatever we want as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's ability to do so. What exactly do you think criminals do? They do whatever the heck they want and don't care about infringing on people's rights to live in a safe place. Is that the kind of society you are talking about? Get rid of the cops and let everyone do whatever they want. Genious.

  • luvmydocs Dec 28, 2006

    conejito00--have you seen or had a firsthand experience with the scenario that you are so dramatically describing? And by that I mean that you are familiar with an incident where a person was just walking down the street and because they didn't tell the RPD officers what they were doing they were thrown to the ground and forced to suffocate on their own vomit?

  • dclark Dec 28, 2006

    kathywawamama ,The media and cultural winds did'nt shoot a tied dog on it's owners porch, a cop did, for what reason escapes any rational minded person. The only rush to judgement I've read is a trigger happy cop who shot a tied up dog.