MOORESVILLE, NC — Today a woman is nursing her wounded dog back to health. The full prognosis of the animal is not yet known, as the owners try to understand why a police officer shot their dog repeatedly in their driveway.
October 17th is a day that Melissa Daughtry Loper will not soon forget. At 1:00 p.m., a typical Thursday quickly became one of the worst days of her life. Daughtry Loper’s 7 year old pitbull, Pinch, was in their yard with their chihuahua. What happened next makes little sense. A Moroesville Police officer came to her home, knelt down and called the chihuahua to him. Moments later, Pinch was lying on the ground, shot three times, clinging to life.
According to the MPD Facebook page, on Thursday, October 17th, at 1:12 p.m., an officer with the Mooresville Police Department observed two dogs in the road in the 900 block of West Wilson Avenue. The officer got out of the car and tried to get the dogs out of the road. One dog became aggressive and the officer deployed a taser but did not hit the dog. The dogs ran to a nearby neighborhood. The officer called Iredell County Animal Control.
Another officer arrived on the scene and both officers entered the subdivision to locate the dogs. Officers were able to relocate the dogs in a cul-de-sac within the subdivision. Officers began to canvas the homes along the cul-de-sac in hopes of locating the owner.
Daughtry Loper recounts the events on her Facebook page, “An officer from The Mooresville Police Department came to my house bent down on his knee and called my chihuahua to come to him out of my yard. Well she started walking to him…and so did my pit bull. The officers backup started to pull out her taser but before she could the other officer that was on his knee managed to stand up and fire his 9mm gun at my pit bull.”
Daughtry Loper told North Carolina’s News 14, “It was like boom, boom, boom.”
She was inside her home when she heard the gunshots last week.
“So I went outside the door and the male officer was standing there, with his hands up in the air saying he just shot my dog three times,” Melissa said.
She immediately ran to find her dog Pinch curled up by the back door and bleeding profusely.
“It’s almost like finding your child in that situation,” Melissa said. “It was horrible. It really was.”
Pinch was struck once in her shoulder. Once in a rear leg. And once in her front paw, which is now so badly damaged that it will be weeks before they know if it has to be amputated. One of the bullets also hit an SUV parked in the driveway, shattering the back window.
“I thought it was a stun gun. I heard three shots, but I thought it was a stun gun,” neighbor Shirley Simmons tells WCCB Charlotte. Having seen the incident unfold, Simmons says, “I’m surprised he used a gun.”
Pinch’s family maintains that she is not aggressive, and was not aggressive the day of the shooting.
“Her sister was being called, so she came too,” said John Loper. “That’s the way we look at it. I understand the officer didn’t know the dog or the dog’s mannerisms or anything like that. That’s why there needs to be other protocols than just pull out your gun and shoot.”
Daughtry Loper’s husband, John Loper, told WCCB that the MPD has offered to pay for damage to the SUV but what about the damage that was done to Pinch and her family? The Lopers are calling for more officer training to prevent such tragedies from happening again and the department to pay Pinch’s vet bills–which have so far totalled $3,000.
“If we can all learn from this and grow, that’s what we want as a family and for the community we live in and call home,” said John.
Melissa is shaken. “[The officer] shot my baby girl. Because he was scared. Keep in mind this was during the day in the middle of a subdivision. I’m still shaken up by it all. I’m just thankful my baby girl is gonna be ok.”
A note from the author: I’ve studied numerous cases of dogs being unnecessarily shot by police officers around the country. This phenomenon is happening thousands of times annually in the United States. As a filmmaker I’ve taken up the cause of exposing this ongoing problem in my upcoming documentary, Puppycide. The film needs the support of passionate activists to help it to come to fruition. Find out how you can support the project here.
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