Local News

Dog Heals From Deputy's Shot, but County Orders Confinement

Posted January 24, 2007

— A Cumberland County woman was very happy when her German shepherd survived being shot by a sheriff’s deputy and pleased when Cumberland County paid the dog’s vet bills, but she was shocked when county animal control came to seize the 60-pound pet .

Now, the dog, named Catalina, is confined at her veterinarian’s kennel, and Linda Vaughn has a Feb. 5 administrative hearing of her appeal of an order that says she must buy liability insurance to cover the dog and never take it out without a muzzle and a leash no more than 4 feet long.

The incident happened Jan. 9 while Vaughn was at her neighbor’s home because the neighbor was ill and Vaughn had called paramedics for help. Incident reports show that the paramedics had warned the deputy, while he was en route, about an aggressive dog in the yard.

The deputy shot Catalina on Jan. 9 after she barked at him and ran toward him with her teeth showing. A report says the deputy took three steps back and Catalina kept advancing.

"I don't know how the dogs got out. I was in the house over there," Vaughn said. "With the door closed, there's no way they can get out." She said she is certain she had closed the door.

Catalina was shot in the head, and Vaughn feared she would not survive, but she healed. Vaughn brought her home last week and though the incident was over, but animal control officers came to her house.

"She has never bit anyone, and she didn't bite the police officer,” Vaughn said. She said Catalina is protective of her property, but has never attacked anybody.

The Cumberland Sheriff's Office and county animal control declined on-camera interviews with WRAL. The sheriff’s office said, however, that its policies allow a deputy to shoot a dog in self-defense or to prevent substantial harm to an officer or another person.

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • tomel Feb 5, 2007

    Hey bradford...Don't worry-wouldn't call you anyway. From my previous experience you're all pretty useless anyway...You'd probably come out-shoot my dog-take a report-and tell me you'd have to get back to me on my situation-and go have doughnut and some coffee! Try some "sensibility" training!!!!

  • narck9 Jan 25, 2007

    Hey dclark. Next time something goes bump in the night, don't bother calling us. Easy to talk sh*t behind an email address.

  • dclark Jan 25, 2007

    All these cops shooting dogs.... why can't we send all these cops over to Iraq where they can shoot real people..... Oh, I forgot......real people might shoot back....must be tough living life so scared you shoot at everything that moves or makes a noise....

  • Mungo Jan 25, 2007

    Sorry guys, I don't see it that way. My dog, my family, my property. If anyone draws a firearm at any of my family on my property, it will be self defense.

  • St Ives Jan 25, 2007

    For god sakes the dog wan on his own property.He did not have any way to judge good guy or bad guy, and ... the biggest thing here is no one was bitten

  • CT6 Jan 25, 2007

    I've had Shepherds my whole life. I wouldn't call them aggressive, just protective of their territory and their family. The key is proper training. A properly trained dog knows when it's "okay" to go after someone - anyone who trains police dogs know that. I agree that something was not right with the owner because if the paramedics warned the officer, she must have known she was out. However, the officer WAS warned and instead he jumps right out of his vehicle and walks right up to the yard without taking any precautions - STUPID on his part. And obviously there's been an admission of guilt because the county paid the vet bills - don't know what they're trying to pull now. They need to properly train these officers; this is so ridiculous. A firm, loud "NO" is usually all it takes (and yes, I know this from experience), but if that fails, just shoot the damn gun straight into the air - the noise will scare the dog off - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  • ringome2 Jan 25, 2007

    I have German Shepards. They need owners that are in control of them at all times. But in the same respect the dog was just protecting what was hers. The deputies shooting people pets on there own property should consider how they would feel if the same was done to them. If happened but the amimal control should have seize the dog. If it had never bitten anyone.

  • smoose Jan 25, 2007

    Most Police departments don't have tasers. It cost a lot of money to properly train officers to use these weapons as well as purchase them. Money, which police departments do not have because of their less than adequate budgets allotted by government officials. SO until the government starts spending more money on its protection forces (police, fire, ems) the best possible protection for both officer and criminal will not be available.
    The only option this officer had was to fire on an aggressive animal. The officer had no way of knowing if this dog was merely protecting its property/masters, or was engaging in an attack. How dare you people say he/she was trigger happy! A different tune would be sung if this officer would have been a child. It is ok to own aggressive animals, but not ok to allow them to roam freely outside with no restraint system in place. The responsibility lies soley with the owner.

  • liebe Jan 25, 2007

    If the officer is threatened by an advancing dog after showing submission, I agree that he has the right to shoot. We, as pet owners, have the responsibility in that situation to secure our dog. However, I don't agree with animal control seizing the dog and the injunctions about 4foot leash and muzzle. The dog was on personal property, not running amuk in the neighborhood, chasing down unsuspecting people.

  • beachdreaming2000 Jan 25, 2007

    A taser would have done the trick, and would not have hurt the dog at all. No hitting from the baton, no burning from the mace.