Local News

Family Loses Pet Due to Search for Escapees

Posted June 24, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

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

According to a police report, the dog was jumping on the officer's tracking dog. The Lab's owners say even if that's true, the officer had no right to gun down their pet.

While searching for three men who had escaped from jail, the Sampson County 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 too much for Bud, the family's long-time pet. Bud dug his way under a fence and went after a police dog.

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

Police say using pepper spray on the Lab could have temporarily disabled their own dog. Fayetteville Police Lt. Katherine Guilette said it appeared shooting Bud was justified.

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

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

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

Photographer:Rick Allen