Local News

Mount Olive woman lodges complaint after officer kills dog

Posted September 22, 2008 6:32 p.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2008 7:51 a.m. EDT

— A Mount Olive woman says she does not understand why a police officer killed her dog.

Durham, a 45-pound Labrador retriever, was fatally shot Thursday.

It happened after a neighbor called 911 to report the dog was in her yard and barking.

An officer arrived and called for backup when Durham barked at him, the neighbor said. Durham then walked back to his owner’s yard. When the second officer arrived, Durham went back into the neighbor’s yard.

Colby Mangum, who owned 2-year-old Durham, said police told her that Durham then showed his teeth and lunged at the officers. That is when one of the officers shot and killed the dog.

"I came to the backyard when I heard the first shot,” neighbor Annette Outlaw said.

Outlaw said she found the two officers with a gun and Durham's lifeless body about 25 feet away.

"I told him, he didn't have to shoot him, that he wasn't vicious. He says, 'He was within his rights to shoot the dog, because he showed his teeth,'” Outlaw said.

Outlaw said the officers put the dog in a plastic bag and left him on the side of the road.

"When the shift supervisor came by later that night, I asked him how would you feel if that were your dog? And he said, 'What else were we supposed to do with him,'” Mangum said.

Mangum said she has collected written statements from neighbors saying Durham was not vicious.

However, neighbor Bobbie Jean Dixon says this wasn't the first time police were called about Durham. She says he has chased her family before.

"He was a vicious dog, (and) frightened us and our children,” she said.

Durham's owner maintains the dog was harmless.

“He never showed any signs that he would be aggressive toward somebody or bite somebody. That just wasn't his personality at all. He just always wanted to play all the time,” Mangum said.

Mount Olive Police Chief Ralph Schroeder said Durham’s shooting is under investigation.

“I’m sorry this happened. And I want to express that to Ms. Mangum about her dog being killed,” Schroeder said.

Mangum said she questions why animal control officers were not called first to pick up the animal, instead of the police.

The names of the officers involved in Durham's shooting were withheld Monday.

The officer who pulled the trigger is on administrative duty while the dog' death is investigated. The chief says the officer has been on the police force for about a year.