Mooresville Police Officer Shoots, Wounds Dog

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MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Pinch, the seven-year-old pit bull, is recovering from three gun shot wounds.  One to her shoulder. One to a rear leg. And one to a front paw. The animal’s paw is so badly damaged, her owner tells WCCB it’ll be weeks before they know if it has to be amputated.

A Mooresville police officer shot the dog on October 17th around 1 PM in its front yard. One of the bullets also hit an SUV parked in the driveway and shattered the back window. John Loper, the dog’s owner, didn’t want to go on-camera, but tells WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty that officers responded to the home after the officers saw Pinch and another family dog, a chihuahua, were out of their fenced-in back yard.

The police department tells WCCB in part that “the dog aggressively approached” the officer and that the department is “investigating the circumstances of the incident”.

“I thought it was a stun gun.  I heard three shots, but I thought it was a stun gun,” says neighbor Shirley Simmons. She says she saw the incident unfold. “I’m surprised he used a gun,” she says.

The dog’s owner maintains Pinch, a dog he rescued as a stray when she was a puppy, is not aggressive, and was not aggressive the day of the shooting. He wants more officer training, the department to pay Pinch’s vet bills–which have so far totalled $3,000–and a call from the Chief of police. Loper says he’s called the department seven times and gotten no reply.

“Here we have people who are gonna cry ‘responsible ownership’. ‘Pit bull being mean, going after a police officer.’ Then on the other hand we’re gonna have, ‘Oh my God, police officer shooting a pit bull again.’ Which one is it?” asks Mike Davis. He has been the president of the National American Pit Bull Terrier Association for three and a half years. He says in instances like these, there are no winners. He says, “It puts both the police and the breed, and the owners all in a bad light.”

Loper tells WCCB the police department has so far offered to pay for damage to the SUV. We’ve asked the department whether the officer who shot the dog is on leave. A Major tells us they’ll release more information Tuesday.