Kitty Hawk Police complete internal investigation following the shooting of a dog

The Town of Kitty Hawk Police Department has completed the Internal Investigation of the shooting of a dog by a Kitty Hawk Police Officer on Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 4010 Smith Street.

This investigation, while not required by North Carolina Law, was initiated by the Town to gather the facts related to the 911 call, gain a full understanding of what occurred and to determine if use of force was justified by the Officer.

The summary of investigative findings is as follows:

The Officer responded to an urgent 911 call to Smith Street for a dog running at large and being aggressive towards children. Upon arriving to Smith Street, the Officer was informed that the aggressive dog was no longer on the resident’s property. After gathering information from the complainant, the Officer determined that Kitty Hawk Town Ordinance 4.2 was violated — Sec. 4-2. – Dogs in public: Dogs kept on private property must be restrained in such a manner as to prevent entry onto public property or the premises of another.
The Officer then attempted to contact the owner at his residence to ensure the dog was no longer a threat to the resident and their children. Upon walking down the driveway, the dog came out from under the house. The Officer began backing away, but the dog continued forward in an aggressive manner, biting the officer multiple times. The Officer then discharged his firearm to stop the attack in fear of injury to himself, resulting in the dog’s death. The Officer backed away from the scene, called for backup, and contacted a supervisor.

There is no body camera footage of the incident as the Officer had it on a charging port to download previous footage and left it at the Police Station in his haste to answer the call. The officer’s account of the event is corroborated by multiple eyewitnesses to the incident and body camera footage from other responding Officers. There is also security camera footage of the dog acting aggressively towards children.

While also not a requirement, the internal investigation information was presented to and reviewed by the 1st Prosecutorial District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney reviewing the case stated that while the shooting of any animal is unfortunate, the actions of the Officer, under these circumstances, were warranted and justified. The District Attorney’s Office recommended that any investigation into the criminal action of the Officer in this incident should be closed.

The Kitty Hawk Police Department has responded to the 4010 Smith Street address for calls regarding aggressive dogs at large on 14 different occasions. Officers have issued several enforcement actions to include verbal warnings, written warnings, and state citations. Even after this incident, complaints continue to come in about the same owner’s other dog running at large and intimidating neighbors.

While this is a very difficult and unfortunate event in the community, the Town remains committed to the safety of the community and our officers. The Town is confident in the integrity of the internal investigation and stands behind this investigation.

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