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Phoenixville Police Shoot, Kill Threatening Dog

The animal was shot near Barkley Elementary School on Monday.

A dog that appeared to be part pit bull was shot and killed by on Monday after it went on a rampage, The Mercury is reporting. The animal was shot once before later dying at the vet.

The department initially received a call about a brown dog—Chief William Mossman said the animal looked like a large pit bull—barking at people near Valley Forge Self Storage at around 2:50 p.m., but it was gone by the time officers responded. A little over an hour later, officers received another call about the dog, now near .

“It was biting tires on cars, barking,” Mossman told The Mercury. “One lady was too frightened to leave her car. Another guy was in a building. Everybody was basically trapped where they were.”

Mossman said officers located the dog, but it took an aggressive posture and stood its ground. A passerby then told police she knew who the dog’s owner was. When two officers knocked on the door of the owner’s nearby house, a woman acknowledged the dog was hers, but said she didn’t know it had gotten out.

At this point, the dog emerged from behind a hedge formation on the owners’ property. It charged one of the officers, before backing off when he pulled out his gun. With the owner screaming orders at the animal, alternately in English and Spanish, the dog barking and growling, and joggers suddenly on the street behind him, Mossman said the officer—a former Marine—fired a single shot into the animal when it charged a second time.

“(The officer) wanted to give the dog every opportunity,” the chief explained to The Mercury, characterizing the shooting as an unfortunate last resort.

“It’s our responsibility, we have to protect the public. The officer was protecting himself and the crowd.”

SCANDAL May 17, 2012 at 01:42 AM
The dog lives in my neighborhood. It runs free all the time. it is not a pitt. She was a Mastiff mix. I have had many encounters with her. It is a sad situation but when people are not responsible owners sometimes their pets pay the price.
Ashley May 17, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I appreciate your take on this. Please do not allow your dogs death to be in vain, contact a lawyer and seek professional advice. The officers need to be better trained if they acted in fear and haste a opposed to protecting and serving.
Ike May 17, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Well i know i will hear it but the Police do tell tall tales when they are NOT RIGHT. Alot of them lies but thats just how it is.We need older cops with more time on the job.Plus some need to be trained in how to talk to the residents.Some of them are just like the smart azz kids are mouth off.But no they cant be wrong.. GAB tell us more,, if this really happen the way you aid , it is a shame .Someone should go to the STATE POLICE,and what ever esle they can do ..That is if it happen the way you said. and i could see it happening that way. Now for the smart azz remarks from some of the great , really great , those who are all that. , really great residents
SCANDAL May 17, 2012 at 02:23 AM
There is an aggressive dog that is a pit the escapes from time to time in our neighborhood. Which has cornered people and not allowed people out of their homes. Carmella the mastiff mix has been up at my house and i have leashed her and walked her home with no issues very friendly
GAB CAZA May 17, 2012 at 02:45 AM
we not gonna do anything..is not gonna bring our dog back!!
Maria Marnin May 17, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Knowing the family and hearing their side of the story personally I can say that the version presented in the Mercury smells of CYA by the police department. A few things left out are that there was another officer who went to the door of the dogs owner to bring them to the dog and before he could get back the other officer shot the dog. Also initially the dog "attacked" the officer, now, there are mysterious joggers that came upon the seen and kids in an elementry school that needed protection, of course at past 4 pm the school likely had no kids. Both neighbors and the owner yelled at officer not to shoot the dog.
Maria Marnin May 17, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Apparently, what was also left out is that the officer had his weapon drawn as soon as the dog was spotted and a neighbor said "don't shoot him I know the owner". It seems that a drawn weapon should have been the last procedural thing to do having mace and a tazer on his belt, especially with the owner and grandaughter behind the dog in the yard. If these joggers exist I'd like to see their statements of what they saw, was the dog really approaching the officer or simply not listening to his commands fast enough for the officer. Every dog barks especially at a stranger yelling at it. Either the dog was attacking the officer or it wasn't, what did the joggers (if they exist) see, what did neighbor looking through window at incident noted in comment above see, I know the owner says it wasn't attacking, officer says it was. Finally, whether the officer made the right decision or not, you might be able to give him a benefit of the doubt, but if he and the department have to lie or embelish the danger of the situation to justify I think we all know that means he acted incorrectly and I would think outside the training and procedures he was suppose to follow. Again, love to see the impartial witness statements from anyone who witnessed the actual shooting.
P-villian May 17, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Were there any other witnesses? The community needs to know the truth! What is the true story behind this shooting?
travis k May 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM
thats phoenixville cops for ya there a bunch of airheads they beat some old mans ass down mollys last year so i wonder what were in store 4 this year and phoenixville cops have no respect 4 people or animals as u can see
Dnel May 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM
This story is so ridiculous!! Biting tires? Even if it was so what! My dogs have tire chew toys! Was it biting any humans??? No!!! Then the cops go to the house and the dog is barking at them......yea my dogs bark at strangers too!!! This cop was scared of this big dog plain and simple and fired prematurely!!! Bottom line......
Mlm May 17, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Does Phoenixville impose fines for loose animals? Perhaps if there were an enforceable leash law pet owners would be more responsible. Maybe the officer did not do the right thing but if the town has a recurring problem they should work on that. And maybe some of you could use your energy in that area instead of attacking the officer or family for what shoulda/coulda. Peace
Richard May 17, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Apparently several people have too much time on their hands.
Joe Phoenix May 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM
So if an officer shot and killed my defenseless dog and I shot and killed the officer is this justifiable homicide?
CRC May 17, 2012 at 02:42 PM
What concerns me the most is the misinformation and judgement people put on this dog because of what was reported. There is no information in the story from people or the owners who looked very distraught over the incident. I live directly across the street and have never even heard this dog bark, even when I spoke to it. She was often in the front yard while people walked by and other than getting loose, which is the owners responsibility, I have never heard any complaints about this animal who never barked at people walking by its home. My dogs, while fenced in our yard when not in the house or at my workplace, have gotten out by someone leaving a gate open. It is unfortunate but it happens and I have stopped and grabbed many dogs and called the owners who didn't know they were missing or were frantically searching for them. Noone can say how their pet will react in a threatening situation but to assume that this dog was vicious because it was a pit is just wrong and inaccurate for this dog. Where is animal control instead of shooting the animal?
Mlm May 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM
PA Animal Law: § 459-501. Killing dogs; dogs as nuisances (a) Legal to kill certain dogs.--Any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing or wounding or killing any domestic animal, wounding or killing other dogs, cats or household pets, or pursuing, wounding or attacking human beings, whether or not such a dog bears the license tag required by the provisions of this act. There shall be no liability on such persons in damages or otherwise for such killing.
me May 17, 2012 at 03:17 PM
"Bred to kill" - did you seriously say that?? Stupid remarks like that show just how ignorant and and uninformed people are. Its pathetic and makes me sick when anyone talks like that about a specific breed and obvioulsy knows absolutely NOTHING about it. Pitt Bulls are NOT bred to kill idiot, maybe read up on them before making such stupid statements!!!
Dnel May 17, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Yea exactly so lets shoot and kill this dog because its barking at a stranger at its own house!! The dog did NOT harm ANYONE!! So yea....why dont you get real??
maddg409 May 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Except for the fact that the dog was not in its house, it was menacing people on second ave
Jayhenke86 May 17, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Hey hero why don't you get up and go show them a better way then? Ohhh that would involve some thing called courage....please stay where you're safe... behind your monitor and let professionals protect your loose mouth.
Dnel May 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM
The dog was shot at its own house. The dog was menacing people on second ave how? Some lady was scared to get out of her car because she saw the dog? It was biting a tire? Yes sounds so extremely menacing......give me break....
Sarah H May 18, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I live right in this area and walk my dog by the school every day. I am so shocked, my heart is pounding right out of my chest, that this could happen to a family right in front of children. That a dog could be murdered in his yard. Dogs get loose, sometimes to the chagrin of their owners, no one is perfect. It happened to me once and I nearly had a heart attack. This owner has told her side of the story and I believe it, and I send out my deepest sympathies. I do believe the cops are here to protect us, but I feel as though some other measure could have been taken. A written warning, a fine, something, anything. Nothing can ever bring back you pet, and that is awful, but hopefully something can be done to enforce a better way to handle a loose dog. Do we not have dog control officers here?? People who are trained to handle animals?
Ike May 18, 2012 at 10:51 PM
HAS THE POLICE RELEASE A STATEMENT YET? WHEN IS THE NEXT COUNCIL MEETING? WE WILL HAVE TO ASK DOWN THERE I GUESS. AND I BET THERE WILL BE ALOT OF NONSENSE TALK . THE MAYOR MUST KEEP OUT OF IT. OR WE WILL BE THERE FOR DAYS. AND WE STILL WONT GET ANY FACTS. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP. WE NEED TO TRAIN SOME OF THE POLICE. OR RETAIN THEM ON HOW TO ACT WHILE OUT IN PUBLIC DID ANYONE CALL THE SPCA?
Sandy Olszta May 20, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Apparently it is now Dog Season. We just had a dog shot and killed here in Norristown. They have to get these cops under control. Its a damn shame to see so many animals who had loving homes being shot by police with no questions asked. I can't believe this is continuing throughout the country, if you or I shot a police dog you are charged as if you shot a cop. The same rules should apply to them.
John C May 20, 2012 at 09:44 PM
If people would take proper care to contain their dogs and follow the dog laws of not only the state, but local as well.....this wouldn't have happened. Some fo you people are idiots......Why would the police drive down the road and randomly jump from their patrol car and shot a dog in their own properly fenced in yard!!! Anyother time you people complain that ll the police do is patrol the drunks and now you saw they left there to randomly shoot a dog. There is more to the story than what a few family and friends of the dog have said here and you are all basing your opinion on that. Go request a copy of the police report and learn for yourself....it is public knowledge once they black out personnel information and names.
Sandy Olszta May 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM
You are the idiot here. First of all I am guessing that you don't own a dog. And secondly, if we follow your lead on this, you are basically saying that the police can shoot anyone braking the law. So lock up your kids cause god forbid they accidentally get out without your knowledge, the cops will be able to shoot them at will. Yet you call me an idiot?
maddg409 May 21, 2012 at 09:47 AM
There is a big difference between your kids breaking the law like curfew or trespass and your kid attempting to harm others.
Beelzebub May 21, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I know that this may come as a shock, but sometimes journalistic reporting isn't the most accurate. Journalists are on a tight timeline to get information out, and sometimes they don't always get it right. In this particular article, it says that the incident happened in front of Barkley. Not correct. It was by the Kindergarten Center. The dog was not shot on the owner’s property. If those simple details were wrong, what else might be inaccurate or incomplete? For all of you who "have heard the owner's story", where might that have occurred? Here? I saw a self-serving comment made by someone claiming to be the owner. The same owner who was not responsible enough to keep control of her animal. It’s easy to come here and blast the cops without having any valid info. Get the true story and then make an informed decision. If you still feel the cop was wrong, then go to a council meeting. For all of you haters, who I’m sure will be outraged by this logical comment, volunteer to be the “bit dummy” for the police department. Give them your cell phone and they can call you when a dog is running loose. You can test puppy to see if he’s vicious or not. If not, the cops can take him. If he is vicious, then you’re on your own.
Beelzebub May 21, 2012 at 04:05 PM
...and slag to the reporter in this case. Bad information initially reported and not updated with the correct info. You can clearly see that this is an important story to the community. A better effort was deserved.
Muffins May 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Bottom line. Whether the dog was a maltese, mastiff, pug or pit, owners need to take responsibility and that includes vet care, shots, and etc. While it's unfortunate the owner lost their pet, it would be just as unfortunate if a family had to deal with their child's injuries from a severe dog bite or attack. Perhaps there is more to this story than was initially reported and perhaps the community is due for an update.
Waldo19 May 22, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Waldo19 Well Sounded Muffins...there are numerous cases of irresponsible pet owners - and the ol' cleche ' oh , he won't bite '. The P.O.was a former marine, trained in the use of deadly force, also an officer of the law, again trained in the use of deadly force..it's a split second decision a jarhead-in this case-officer has to make, no one wants to sometimes; but . . .someone . . has to. I am not particularly fond of the Phnxvlle PD, but as a former marine brother, I'll take his back any day. Semper Fi . I'm sure he would like to have that round back, many of us would.

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