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Family Loses Pet Due to Search for Escapees

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FAYETTEVILLE — The search for the escapees took a tragicturn Sunday when a Fayetteville K-9 officer shot a family's 14-year-oldLabrador retriever. The dog's owners are furious and say they want theofficer fired.

According to a police report, the dog was jumping on the officer'stracking dog. The Lab's owners say even if that's true, the officer had noright to gun down their pet.

While searching for three men who had escaped from jail, the SampsonCounty Sheriff's Department called in three K-9 teams from Fayetteville.Don and Ruth Rich say the second team to come through their yard was toomuch for Bud, the family's long-time pet. Bud dug his way under a fenceand went after a police dog.

Don Rich says he was on his way out to calm his dog, but arrived toolate. Fayetteville officer Jessie Devane shot Bud in the neck.

Police say using pepper spray on the Lab could have temporarilydisabled their own dog. Fayetteville Police Lt. Katherine Guilette saidit appeared shooting Bud was justified.

Don and Ruth Rich say losing their pet was, to them, like losing achild.

The Riches say Bud had never gotten loose before and had neverbitten anyone or any other dogs. They would like to see the officer whoshot Bud fired.

Fayetteville police and the Sampson County sheriff's department saythey're still looking into the case.

Photographer:Rick Allen

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