Local News

Wilson County Police Chief Shoots Stray Dogs After He Could Not Catch Them

Posted June 16, 2005

— Some residents of a Wilson town are upset over the way the town's police chief handled a group of stray dogs.

Stantonsburg Police Chief John Hunt said several stray dogs had been knocking over trashcans, growling at people and chasing pets. After more than six months of trying to catch them, he said he had no other choice but to shoot the animals because he was worried about safety.

"Some dogs you just can't catch," Hunt said. "Those dogs, I couldn't catch."

Hunt said that if one of the dogs had bitten someone, he would have been partially responsible.

But Nancy Winters, who said she fed the strays behind her door nearly every night, said she is upset over what happened. She had hoped to eventually bring the dogs to a shelter where she volunteers to try to put them up for adoption.

She and other concerned citizens want the town to change its policy concerning stray animals and look into tranquilizer guns.

"It turns my stomach," Winters said. "I don't think that this is the answer to the problem."

Wilson County's director of animal control said Hunt did everything according to policy. He even called in animal control officers to see if they could find and trap the dogs. When that did not work, the county authorized him to destroy the dogs himself.

"I do apologize for any people I offended for my actions," Hunt said. "But as a chief, I'm sometimes put with difficult decisions and that's one I had to make."

Hunt said he has not heard of any more complaints about stray dogs. He said he will always exhaust all other possibilities before shooting an animal and has no plans to change the current policy.


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