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Magistrate Clears Officer Who Shot Dog

Posted December 29, 2006

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— A Wake County magistrate has cleared a Raleigh police officer of wrongdoing in the shooting of a dog on Christmas Day.

Officer R.A. Smith shot Truman, a chocolate Labrador retriever, behind the right ear while responding to a call about a dog bite. The dog suffered a ruptured eardrum and has been recovering at home.

Another dog in the house had bitten its owner, Meredith Phillips, on the cheek earlier, and Rex Hospital workers reported the dog bite to authorities according to procedure after Phillips went to the hospital for treatment.

Smith, 23, told investigators that Truman ran toward him, but Phillips and her family maintain the dog was tied up on the porch.

The Raleigh Police Department Internal Affairs unit investigated the case and turned its findings over to a magistrate, who ruled that no criminal violation had occurred.

The police department continues to review the case to determine if Smith violated any department policies, spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

Department officials also plan to review its training and practices to determine if any changes are needed to handle dog-bite calls.
78 Comments

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  • rc25 Jan 1, 2007

    I think it's a sad situation all the way around. But, everyone's missing the point! Who gave REX the right to call the RPD? Who gave the RPD the right to go to the house? If you have a shooting victim or an auto accident victim, the police comes to the hospital to talk to the victim. Why is that not SOP for dog bites? And shouldn't the OWNERS of the house HAVE TO GIVE their permission for these actions to be taken? If I go to the hospital because my son accidentally shot me while cleaning his gun. Are they going to go to my house and shoot my son unbenounced to me? What happened to our CIVIL RIGHTS?

  • 3 Sails Jan 1, 2007

    I disagree with the cop and I disagree with the magistrate. I can also GUARANTEE that if that bullet had've hit a human in that house, all you people siding with the cop would be nowhere to be found. It was STUPID for him to fire at that dog, on the porch of that house. He got real lucky that Lab was all he hit.

  • RPD07 Jan 1, 2007

    WOW! Action is faster than reaction. Hence, the name. First of all, to the people that think the officer should have called before hand to announce his arrival. Why? Why would an officer take the chance of announcing themself to an unknown person with an unkown intent? Second, to the ones that wonder why the officer didn't use pepper spray. Pepper spray is not effective on all animals. It's not even effective on all people. Also, if the wind was blowing the wrong direction, how would he be able to spray the dog? There is a pepper spray made for dogs, but it is still not effective on all dogs. Plus, it's just one more thing to add to an already over crowded duty belt. I had more to say but this limits how much to type. I could go on all day. The main point is, don't judge. If every RPD Officer judged people the way y'all are, then I can't even imagine the problems this city would have.

  • bhurrelbrink Dec 31, 2006

    Guess what folks if you have read the strange news for Dec 31 you would have seen that a police officer in Florida actually has some common sense and a good heart. He used his STUN GUN to get a python under control who was actually attacking it's handler, rather that just shooting it. Unlike the Raleigh Police that just shoot first and don't take the blame later. Heck they don't even appologize, they get their Capt. to do it for them. Chaulk this one up to life's lesson 101.

  • jackleg Dec 31, 2006

    if you dont break the law, you dont have to worry about cops shooting up your house!

  • geowilrlst Dec 31, 2006

    LOL ! Me a tree hugger !

  • ru4real3333 Dec 30, 2006

    The menatality of some of these posters is disturbing to say the least. For the people who think he shouldn't have been by himself. A) he is a grown man who completed training to the state's satisfaction. B) if the police put two people per car so a veteran was in every car you would all be at every city council meeting whining about the increased taxes to pay for it....As for policy change, would you rather he turns and runs and just hopes the dog was tied up? Does he need to be bit first? What changes do you want? He was at the house for a dog bite...hello does no one see the reason he is more ready to defend himself. I don't care if the dog was a Lab, if he has teeth he can bite you. As for the moron who stated it was a nice neighborhood....did I miss something, are you saying that is why he shouldn't have done it. Are you saying it would have been OK if it was in the hood? Durham? Just not in North Raleigh. I didn't know all nice neighborhoods had nice dogs. I didn't thin

  • builder276 Dec 30, 2006

    connor, get a life, hope they come to your door and you startle them. Then what??

  • UmmmK Dec 30, 2006

    You know why this story has become a mountain instead of the molehill it really is? Because it happened on a slow news day - Christmas day - when there wasn't much else to report. This lady had her 15 minutes of fame because wasn't much else going on. How proud she must be! Now she can talk it up with the girlfriends at her country club luncheon. You know why else this story has the ignorant up in arms? Because people have their priorities screwed up. Animals are not people too! (Some of you may need to repeat that over and over.) As much as we love our pets, the officer did the right thing. A dog comes at him when he's on a dogbite call. I'm glad he didn't waste any time defending himself by going through a checklist of unknowns.

  • mrduffin Dec 30, 2006

    We'll go shoot the cops dog and then we will be even. It is only a dog..right? I'm sure the cops kid don't love their dog at all. I'm sure dad the cop shoots it every day beause it is only a dog.

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