By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on October 11, 2022
On Oct. 11, The Town of Kitty Hawk released the findings of an internal investigation into the Oct. 1 fatal shooting of a family dog by Kitty Hawk Police Officer Robert Meador. The findings detailed below, which were reviewed by District Attorney Andrew Womble, exonerate the officer, saying his actions were “warranted and justified.” They also state that the dog aggressively approached the officer and bit him “multiple times.”
In addition, the report says there were 14 different occasions when Kitty Hawk Police have “responded to the 4010 Smith Street address for calls regarding aggressive dogs at large.”
In both interviews and comments made at an Oct. 3 Kitty Hawk Town Council, the owners of the dog have stated that it was shot without cause or warning.
At the council meeting, Lynette Fenton said that Meador “never announces he is a police officer. This man walking on the private property towards the dogs, never announces his presence, never announces his gun is drawn. He never announces he will fire; he never announces to my husband to try to retain the dogs. Within the few seconds that the owner spotted the man, shots were fired,” she said.
The Kitty Hawk internal investigation report indicates that “the officer’s account of the event is corroborated by multiple eyewitnesses to the incident and body camera footage from other responding Officers. “
But the report acknowledges that there is no body camera footage of the incident as Meador left it at the police station when he responded to the call. On the question of providing more information or images to confirm that the officer was bitten by the dog, a Kitty Hawk spokesperson stated that “an employee’s medical record is not public information, and we are not able by state statute to release it.”
When asked a follow-up question about possible circumstances in which that information could be released, the spokesperson responded that “we will not be releasing any further details about the officer’s medical information and or treatment.”
Here are the town’s findings.
The Town of Kitty Hawk Police Department has completed the Internal Investigation of the shooting of a dog by a Kitty Hawk Police Officer on Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 4010 Smith Street. This investigation, while not required by North Carolina Law, was initiated by the Town to gather the facts related to the 911 call, gain a full understanding of what occurred and to determine if use of force was justified by the Officer.
The Officer responded to an urgent 911 call to Smith Street for a dog running at large and being aggressive towards children. Upon arriving to Smith Street, the Officer was informed that the aggressive dog was no longer on the resident’s property. After gathering information from the complainant, the Officer determined that Kitty Hawk Town Ordinance 4.2 was violated.
Dogs kept on private property must be restrained in such a manner as to prevent entry onto public property or the premises of another.
The Officer then attempted to contact the owner at his residence to ensure the dog was no longer a threat to the resident and their children. Upon walking down the driveway, the dog came out from under the house. The Officer began backing away, but the dog continued forward in an aggressive manner, biting the officer multiple times. The Officer then discharged his firearm to stop the attack in fear of injury to himself, resulting in the dog’s death. The Officer backed away from the scene, called for backup, and contacted a supervisor.
There is no body camera footage of the incident as the Officer had it on a charging port to download previous footage and left it at the Police Station in his haste to answer the call. The officer’s account of the event is corroborated by multiple eyewitnesses to the incident and body camera footage from other responding Officers. There is also security camera footage of the dog acting aggressively towards children.
While also not a requirement, the internal investigation information was presented to and reviewed by the 1st Prosecutorial District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney reviewing the case stated that while the shooting of any animal is unfortunate, the actions of the Officer, under these circumstances, were warranted and justified. The District Attorney’s Office recommended that any investigation into the criminal action of the Officer in this incident should be closed.
The Kitty Hawk Police Department has responded to the 4010 Smith Street address for calls regarding aggressive dogs at large on 14 different occasions. Officers have issued several enforcement actions to include verbal warnings, written warnings, and state citations. Even after this incident, complaints continue to come in about the same owner’s other dog running at large and intimidating neighbors.
While this is a very difficult and unfortunate event in the community, the Town remains committed to the safety of the community and our officers. The Town is confident in the integrity of the internal investigation and stands behind this investigation.
SEE ALSO: The death of a dog, and two different narratives
Plenty of people with jobs statistically far more dangerous than law enforcement encounter aggressive and wild animals every day, and somehow gunfire is never involved.
Stuck in traffic
So the gun is issued for protection of the (cop) life and the life of a third party.
What part of a dog nipping at your feet is ….. fear for your life?
It’s a felony to shoot someone’s pet,
For the rest of us.
Cop should be fired and wobble should never be a judge!!!
Remember he’s the guy that said it was ok for a gang of cops to kill a unarmed black man. I saw murder on the video.
I was a cop and this is wrong all the way around. For those who say the dog was out 14 times. I say oh well, how many times do you give narcan to a drug addict. They’re going to just do it again. Maybe we can have cops just shoot them!!
Wow, all wrapped up in just 10 days ? Amazing. The police work on that must have been extensive.
I am a fifteen year old girl and i still have better morals than this cop, he could have easily used any other tactic other than shooting it to “protect himself” also the fact there is no evidence the dog bit him and multiple eyewitnesses.
I find it hard to believe the dog made it 6 years running loose and never attacked anyone entering the property fedex, ups, postal, pizza delivery, trick or treaters, etc, must’ve been hundreds of people. Then all of a sudden this WVA transplant that’s only been here a few months gets attacked allegedly. Without any evidence being released to the public except a blanket statement from khpd. Not even a medical assessment from a local physician showing he was treated for his wounds. This just screams coverup. I hope the family files a civil suit and more to this story is uncovered.
Good job Officer