Canine Rights

Police Responding to Domestic Disturbance Shoot, Kill Family Dog

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal investigation into the shooting death of a beloved family dog by officers responding to a domestic disturbance call.

When Durham County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the Raleigh, North Carolina home of Troy Ennis and his family in response to a domestic disturbance call, they asked the family to put away their two dogs.

The dog owner complied, putting one dog inside a crate and closing the other in a bedroom. When Troy Ennis entered the bedroom to use the bathroom, 58-pound pit-hound mix, “D”, escaped and, according to police, charged at the deputy’s face. That’s when the deputy fired, shooting D in the mouth, killing him.

Ennis said D has never bitten anyone before nor has he ever acted aggressively. He said his dog frequently played in the backyard with his 5-year-old grandson, Ian. Ian often plays in the backyard with toy guns and darts. “The dog tries to catch the darts and take the guns away from him,” Ennis explained to WTVD.

Ennis said D wasn’t charging at the officer, but attempting to play with him.

“The dog did jump up. I’m not denying he didn’t jump up,” Ennis explained. But, Ennis said he never growled or barked and believes D was going after the deputy’s gun the same way he played with 5-year old Ian in the backyard.

“(D) never knew what a real gun was. To him all guns were toys. I know the officer didn’t know that,” Ennis said. “But a gun? First thing! A Taser? No pepper spray? Kick him? (The deputy) is a 200-something pound man. He couldn’t kick him?”

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office released edited dashcam footage to ABC11 which offered audio into what happened prior to the shooting. One deputy can be heard off camera saying, “(The dog) came right at me. Slammed the door in its face.” Another deputy replied by saying, “I thought you were going to smoke him!” “I almost did,” the deputy responded back.

Ennis said that throughout the incident, the second deputy at the scene never drew his weapon. He also questions the Sheriff’s explanation of events, saying “If he lunged at his face, how did he shoot him in the mouth?”

When contacted, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office said, “As with all grievances, the sheriff’s office is conducting a thorough review of the events leading up to the shooting incident. That internal investigation is incomplete and ongoing at this time. For this reason, no additional details are available.”

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