Kitty Hawk probe exonerates officer in dog shooting 

By on October 11, 2022

Reports say there is no body cam footage of incident

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.

Internal Investigation Summary:

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.

Summary of Investigative Findings

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.

Sec. 4-2. – Dogs in public.

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



Comments

  • WindyBill

    Womble is a clear and present danger to public safety.

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 3:08 pm
  • A to the B

    So now how about an apology to the officer and a fine for the owners who obviously fail to care about their neighbors or to restrain their animals?

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 3:17 pm
  • J T

    I’m just here to see what that guy Reston says.

    His comment about Avalon Pier being the Mos Eisley of the Outer Banks was the funniest damn thing I’ve read all year. Brilliant.

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 3:59 pm
  • Bill

    Police had been to the residence 14 times. The owners apparently didn’t care if the dogs were roaming the neighborhood.

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 4:47 pm
  • Liz

    I’m with JT and Reston on that one. It’s been that was since I was a kid there in the 80s!

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 5:03 pm
  • Dylan

    Some people should not own dogs. It is a privilege with responsibility and not a right.

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 5:36 pm
  • John Reston

    Remember that MASH scene (Season 6 Episode 9) when the puppy Margaret Houlihan was sneaking food to got run over by a Jeep? Yeah, that was pretty beat. “Gee, that’s a shame. Somebody should’ve tied him up.” – Nurses in the mess hall.

    NGL, I welled up when Hot Lips started crying.

    Lesson to all of us – control our pets. This didn’t have to happen. Just a mess for all those involved.

    Heh, I said mess twice.

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 6:29 pm
  • Lemonshirt

    On behalf of all law-abiding canines everywhere, just let me say WOOF!

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 6:58 pm
  • Just a mom

    I am glad for the officer. I am also sorry for him because it is awful the things people said about him. I can’t believe there are any police left in a country where people attack them for doing their job to the best of their abilities. I thank the officer and hope he isn’t deterred in his future endeavors to follow protocol and his gut instincts. Tough decisions aren’t called tough because they’re easy.
    Thank you for your service Officer Meador. I am sorry you were put in a position by the dog owners to have to respond to begin with. That’s the real story.

    Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 8:05 pm
  • Special Citizens

    imagine a world where the gestapo polices themselves, with obvious bullshit statements like “bit 14 times” and “corrobarated by body cam evidence” while leaving their bodycam behind. Is there literally no accountability for these murderers in uniform? This is a small town, and today it is a dog, but if it was a person the same process would apply and thats ridiculous. One day all of the bootlickers will die off and maybe we can live in a society where the police serve & protect everyone, not just themselves.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 6:34 am
  • Steve Railsback

    The petition to fire the cop was as low as it gets. This is a human trying to do his job and make his way in a new department, and people who clearly have no control over their animals just cavalierly call for the guy to be fired. The “cancel culture” trying to suck the rest of us into some vigilante mob action. Perhaps a petition to pass an ordinance forbidding dog ownership for irresponsible residents might now be in order? How about this: Before the principals yap and whine to media and online, file a civil suit, depose all the parties, and make the evidence public. Guess what? As soon as $100k was offered to these people, they’d suddenly stop being such vociferous “animal activists.”

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 8:42 am
  • Miguel

    In a world of cause and effect, this event was precipitated
    by the dog owner’s negligence. Police officers don’t shoot dogs
    unless it’s necessary. The untrained dog was aggressive and
    had been menacing the community for quite some time.
    An owner who loves their dog needs to be much more
    responsible, for the dog’s sake and the safety of all others.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 8:58 am
  • Charles

    Shocker, no camera footage. Should not be a surprise to anyone.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 9:08 am
  • Toe Jauber

    Special Citizens, maybe read it again. No where does it say “bit 14 times”

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 9:11 am
  • Buck C.

    Character is who you are when no one is watching. Not having a bodycam is the equivalent of no one watching or in this case, the dog owners recollection of the story being null & void. Hopefully everyone learns from this, but it is a shame no one will really know what actually happened.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 11:48 am
  • Dawn

    We live in an area where the “good ole boys” will be protected by their own. Did anyone really think the DA’s office was going to conduct a fair investigation? That is a joke!
    There might be fault on both sides here but why isn’t anyone saying that the officer acted beyond necessary measures when he murdered that dog? He could have used his stun gun or another means of taming the dog without taking it’s life. The officer should be put on desk duty and trained more. I don’t care how many. times they’ve been called out for the dogs. Each visit should be handled on it’s own accord. Lastly, no matter what, the dog did NOT have to be shot dead! Lets think about that for a minute. Any good dog has a natural inclination to protect it’s property. The owner should have been given a chance to collect his and her pets first. No body cam footage and no bite serious enough to warrant a visit to Urgent Care. Very suspicious.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 12:23 pm
  • John Jones

    Toe Jauber…..”Special Citizens” is special so he doesn’t have to read the facts. They just screw up his train of thought.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 1:39 pm
  • moe.ron

    To Mark J – is the portion of your article below the “Here is the Town’s Findings” section your synopsis of the report or the Town’s verbatim report? The reason I ask is the apparent inconsistency regarding the body cam. The story states “There is no body camera footage of the incident as the Officer had it on a charging port …The officer’s account of the event is corroborated by … body camera footage from other responding Officers. There is also security camera footage of the dog acting aggressively towards children.”

    I’m guessing there is no body cam video from Officer Meador but there is body cam video from other officers? Your section of the story or the police department account, depending on the author, needs clarification.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 3:54 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    So Moe, after follow-up questions to the Kitty Hawk Police, they say that the other body cam footage from other officers did not record the incident since they were not at the scene at the time of the shooting. They may have captured the aftermath of the shooting.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 5:49 pm
  • my2cents

    I find it humorous that so many people feel like they are qualified or intelligent enough to say what the officer “should have done”. First off, unless you have worked as a law enforcement officer, AND put in the same (or similar) situation, you have no idea how you wold react. Fight or flight is a proven human response when presented with certain situations. Officers are not trained to flee or run away from a threat, whether it’s a person or an aggressive dog. And for all of those people chirping about the lack of body worn camera footage, why not rely on the officer’s word? Unless you have a special agenda or generally dislike police officers, you should trust their actions are ethical, moral and within operating procedures. That is why there is such an extensive process for law enforcement candidates. Individuals who are not trustworthy, ethical or moral generally get weeded out early in the application process. And for those who think using a “stun gun” (taser) would have been a better option, you are simply ignorant and do not possess the knowledge on how those devices work. I’m glad the officer is alright. Don’t let stupid comments from the keyboard warriors discourage you from continuing to do your job!

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 5:02 pm
  • L.J. Silver

    Those still playing the anti Cop game are ignoring completely the part about these same people having FOURTEEN complaints on record about their dogs running loose and intimidating and treating others… FOURTEEN TIMES. These people are either the most dense human beings ever or just do not care.

    Wednesday, Oct 12 @ 7:10 pm