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Wheeling Police Officer Shoots, Kills Dog in North Wheeling

The dog shot by a Wheeling Police officer Wednesday evening, a black Labrador retriever named Richie, reportedly attacked and bit the officer in North Wheeling. The photo was provided by its owner, Kathy Ashby.

WHEELING — A Wheeling Police officer shot and killed a dog Wednesday night at a North Wheeling home after the dog reportedly attacked him.

The unidentified officer suffered serious injuries that required immediate medical attention and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment, according to the department.

Police were sent to the Henderson Street area for a possible domestic violence incident on Wednesday night and officers went home to home searching, but found no evidence of a fight.

At around 10:30 p.m., the officer approached the door of a house and was met by a barking dog. A person inside the house opened the door to speak to him. The dog then lunged at and attacked the officer, biting him in multiple areas, including both hands, according to the department.

“The officer made multiple attempts to calm the dog. However, concerned for his safety and trying to protect himself, the officer shot the dog,” according to a WPD press release.

The dog was a seven- or eight-year-old black Labrador retriever named Richie, said the dog’s owner, Kathy Ashby, who lives at the Henderson Street house.

“I’m just heartbroken,” Ashby said. “I’m sorry that the guy got bit if that what’s happened, but you got a Taser, you got pepper spray and you chose to shoot the dog.”

Ashby said she was inside the house when the incident occurred, and her 15-year-old daughter answered the door and witnessed what happened.

“There was a knock at the door, the dog barked, next thing I knew I heard shots,” Ashby said.

Deputy Chief Martin Kimball said the officer first approached the house, heard the dog barking and put his hand on the door to keep it shut. The daughter then answered the door, opened it about six inches to talk and the dog ran out and went for the officer, he said.

“He tried to defend himself with his hands. Both hands were injured before the officer resorted to drawing his weapon,” Kimball said. “It’s a tragic situation. He had no other options available to him. The dog obviously had already caused serious injuries to him and it was only going to get worse.”

Police spokesman Philip Stahl said Thursday the department will now conduct an internal investigation, per its policy on use of force by an officer, and will not release the officer’s name at this point.

Stahl also noted that officers were never given a proper location of the domestic incident and that it appears to have been an unfounded complaint.

A similar incident occurred in April 2014, when a WPD officer shot and killed a dog in East Wheeling. Police responded to a complaint from a resident that a large, aggressive dog was chasing him.

Officer Kyle Mull found the dog on 14th Street, and as he was exiting his vehicle, the dog reportedly charged after him and Mull fired two shots to put the dog down. The department had received complaints about the dog chasing residents the day prior.

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