HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton neighborhood is upset that a police officer shot and killed a family dog.
Police are still investigating if the shooting was justified. It happened Friday night on Pansy Street, and the pet’s owner said the dog did not have malicious intent.
“He greeted everybody that came on the road the same way, y’all got barked at, but once he got up to you, the tail started wagging,” said Richard Turner, the dog’s owner.
Marley, a mix of hound and boxer, was a neighborhood favorite, the leader of the pack and Turner’s lovable companion. The trouble started when Turner realized he had purchased a stolen moped. He called police to come pick it up, but he was down the street at a friend’s house when the officer arrived.
“We got about halfway down the road when Marley saw the officer get out of his car and walking into the yard,” Turner said.
Police say the dog was acting aggressively.
“While the owner and canine were trying to approach the officer, the canine aggressively lunged at the officer,” said Cpl. Mary Shackelford with the Hampton Police Division.
“I was immediately like, ‘Don’t shoot my dog!’” Turner said. “I screamed it as loud as I could. He ignored what I said and shot the dog.”
Marley didn’t die right away. Hurt and confused, he ran. And the whole neighborhood chased after him. They found him three streets away with a bullet hole in his cheek.
The dog’s extreme pain, coupled with thousands of dollars in medical bills and a surgery that didn’t guarantee survival, forced Turner to make a tough decision — to put the dog down.
“Obviously we sympathize with the family,” Cpl. Shackelford said. “I’m sure that dog was the family pet; However, due to the ongoing investigations, we’re not able to provide any further information in reference to it.”
Turner hopes police will use Marley’s death as a reason to train for better outcomes in similar situations.
“I really just wish they would take a little more time to train these guys to figure out what is the proper method to handle these bigger dogs besides lethal force,” Turner said.
Along with the shooting investigation, police are also conducting an internal investigation, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.