Hamlet Town Marshal Frank Lonigro III says an officer who shot and killed an attacking dog was justified in his actions. On Sept. 15, an officer with the Hamlet Police Department approached a residence at 218 Railroad St. in search of a wanted subject. When the officer asked the woman who answered the door if the wanted female was home, she said she was not.
The officer then asked to speak with Kenneth Schoff, who was also reported to live at the residence. When Schoff opened the door to come outside, a pit bull ran from the house barking and growling, and lunged at the police officer. The officer tried pushing the dog away, but the pit bull continued trying to bite him, forcing the officer to draw his weapon and fire three shots in an attempt to stop the attacking dog. The dog was struck by the shots, and fell onto the ground before quickly jumping up and attacking the officer once again.
The officer once again fired, striking the dog twice more, dropping it to the ground in the middle of the road. The owner was reportedly extremely upset and yelling, but the officer apologized and tried to explain that he had no choice but to protect himself from the aggressive animal. The dog owner, enraged, refused to calm down and continued to call the officer a “murderer.”
Upon further investigation, Lonigro found that the officer involved acted within the department’s operating procedures and was justified in discharging his weapon to stop the aggressive manner of the animal.
“I believe he had no choice but to use the amount of force necessary to stop the aggressive behavior to protect himself,” Lonigro said.