FREEDOM – A police officer had to shoot TWO PIT BULLS after they attacked a man and killed the man's dog during a violent altercation on Nov. 20. The police chief stresses his officer had no choice.
The incident occurred at 131 Old Portland Road, said Police Chief Josh Shackford and responding officer John Evans.
On Nov. 20, the home owner's brother came over to the house with his medium-size mixed-breed dog and somehow the pit bulls got loose and decided to attack the third dog and the man. The pit bulls belonged to the home owner's daughter whom dispatch logs identify as Katie St. Onge. Neither the home owner nor St. Onge were home at the time.
"Apparently, these dogs don't play well with each other," said Shackford. "The two pit bulls attacked the brother's dog and killed it. After they got done killing that dog, they attacked the owner. They took some pretty good chunks out of him."
The victim was able to get inside the home to call 9-1-1.
When Evans arrived on scene, the dogs went after him. When Evans got back to his cruiser the dogs ran back toward the home, trying to get in. Evans began trying to ask the man in the house questions.
The man replied that he had been bitten and that Evans would have to shoot the dogs. The victim told Evans he wanted to get a shot gun to kill the dogs but Evans told him that would not be necessary. When Evans exited his cruiser the second time, the dogs came charging back at him and Evans opened fire.
"It was something that had to be done," said Evans.
"When they came after him, he shot them," said Shackford. "He didn't have a choice."
Evans said the large pit bull was about 75 pounds and the other was over 60. The dog they mauled was about 40 pounds and may have been an Australian cattle dog. Evans said the pit bulls took a fist size wound in the man's leg and also injured the man's hand.
Shackford said the pit bulls represented a threat to anyone in the area and that Evans had to stop the pit bulls.
"It seemed like the dogs were on a tear and not able to be controlled," said Shackford, adding he can't think of a reason why people should own dogs that attack or kill other dogs and people who come by.
Evans said there were children in the neighborhood.
The owners are not being criminally charged and there is no evidence they were involved in any illegal activity that caused the dogs to be violent, said Shackford adding the owners understood that the dogs needed to be put down. The neighbors were also thankful said Shackford.
Evans believes the victim was taken to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro.
North Conway Ambulance, Freedom Rescue, State Police and Madison Police responded.
The same two pit bulls bit a jogger and a dog about a year ago. The owners were summons at that time, but there had been no further incidents until Nov. 20.
Evans, who in a phone interview described himself as a dog lover, said that pit bulls are a big responsibility and people who seek to adopt them should make sure they are properly equipped before hand and be especially careful if their dogs already had an incident.