Local News

Police Wounding of Family Dog Shocks Owners

Posted December 26, 2006 11:30 p.m. EST
Updated December 27, 2006 7:47 p.m. EST

— 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.