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Dog shot by Department of Corrections officer

READ MORE: Dog shot by Department of Corrections officer
A local family is mourning the loss of their pet today. The dog was shot yesterday by a Wilmington probation officer. Family members want to know why their dog was the target of what probation officers are calling an act of self defense. Christine Champion was less than a foot away from her dog Nicco, when he was shot and killed Monday afternoon. "I think it might have been the worst experience I ever had to go through, he was like my son," Champion said. Probation and parole officers were at Christine's home for a routine warrant less search of her father's upstairs apartment. As they approached the home, officials say Nicco was barking and acting aggressive. According to Department of Corrections Manager Jean Walker, it is protocol to use self defense if an officer feels threatened or unsafe. "When they arrived at the residence, a large pit bull came towards one of the officers, and was acting very aggressive, trying to bite him." But Director of Animal Control Jean McNeil said dogs act aggressively when they are protecting their territory. "Dogs don't know the boundaries of property lines. They are simply protecting the area that is their territory which may not be the boundary lines that we have designated by a driveway or a household." But for owners, Christine and Greg, nothing will bring back their beloved dog. "Everybody loved Nicco. I don't think there was a single person in this world who disliked him." Greg Saunders is the other owner of the dog. He said, “Here's nothing anybody can do that would make me feel better about the situation. It wouldn't matter if the officer that shot him lost his job, even if someone shot his dog, I wouldn't feel better. That's not going to make me feel any better; I wouldn't wish that on anybody." Nicco's owners want to know why law enforcement does not use a taser or stun gun in situations like this, instead of a fatal weapon.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


It was my father and i would

It was my father and i would rather see my dad alive, then a dog. dogs can be re gotten. i would never be able to see my dad again, if that pitbull had attacked.

Im so sorry to hear this

Im so sorry to hear this happen to you to I lost my 2 pitbulls they where shot in my yard in front of my grandmother who should have never seen anything like this my heart go out to you and your family.


Tasers? Stun Guns? Misunderstood pit bulls? Please tell me they kept you people out of the voting booth in November!!!!!

Probation officers by law do

Probation officers by law do not have authority to kill animals owned by other people but sometimes they think they are being threatened per say some of them feel threatened and such when yelled at by their spises but do they shoot them no of course not the dog wasnt going to harm the officer he just wanted to shoot something must have watched too many south park oh my god its comming straight at us lets shoot it it makes me sick it really does

Jailhouse Lawyer

Are you crazy? "By law," as you say, he had every right to shoot that dog. You post, with its misspellings and lack of punctuation, makes you sound like a typical jailhouse lawyer that never made it past 8th grade. Probation Officers have the same powers as the sheriffs of NC. Look it up - NC General Statute # 15-205. Anyone, not restricted to law enforcement of corrections officers, has the right to defend themselves with deadly force if they are in danger of being seriously hurt or killed. This includes defending themselves against attacking people or animals.

"he was like my son"

Dogs don't know a lot of things. They act on training and instinct. Thankfully, it wasn't a toddler or small child that was attacked. The dog is not a baby. The dog is an animal that you are supposed to be responsible for 24/7. If people really want to know where to place blame, look at the facts. According to the article, the dog was not on a chain. Not on a leash. There was no restraint of any kind. The dog "was acting very aggressive, trying to bite him." It's NOT the dogs fault. It's the OWNER'S fault. However, if the dog dug out from under the fence, or broke the chain, or somehow got off the leash, those are mitigating circumstances. However the article does not mention these things. "he was like my son". God I hope not. I would hope you would have kept a better eye on your child. If not well......don't have kids. Not everyone is a dog person. But every dog owner is supposed to be responsible. A leash, or chain, or fence might have prevented this incident. After seeing the $20 dollar bills laid on the floor, I reason that the owner had the means to secure him, but chose not to. I am not a criminal, but have seen probation officers in the routine course of their duties. I personally have seen a dog barking at an officer less than 2 feet away. The officer did not overreact or show uncontrollable fear. The men and women do a thankless job. They have to put up with a lot of crap. But for me to believe that an officer would shoot a dog, within a foot of it's owner, I would say there was a real threat. And when it comes to a human life, or a dogs life it's a clear choice. That is the real tragedy of the story. An animal had to pay for it's owner's negligence.

No remorse sounds like you

No remorse sounds like you are one of those to believe everything you read hear or see in newspapers tv or other such nonsense the officer showed disrespect firing a weapon a foot away from an innocent human being is negligent besides if the animal was a foot away there was no real danger

Rants after this post are a waste-this says it all

I was researching what to do about my 27 y.o. Daughter's Pit whom I'm now caring for. This first post is the article (while others make valid points) I think is productive: We don't know what to do, but we must not let only feelings and opinions dictate, and when we see a problem with OUR pet, we MUST take responsibility to ensure our pet and others are not hurt. Lucy is a sweet, loving, loyal dog who has never been abused nor encouraged to be agressive. However, my daughter spoils her in front of other dogs, and when she's attacked them, and even bitten my boyfriend and people trying to stop to "out of the blue" attack, she comes up with emotional defenses for her dog's irradic behavior, and doesn't apologize or take responsibility, as this first post suggests. We can ponder why...,... and who's to blame til the cows come home, but until we KNOW no one will get hurt, I'll keep any lab, chiuawa, mut.... restrained, and would never blame someone who had to resort to protecting themselves for my irresponsible behavior. I still wonder what to do?

I have a pit bull

I have a pit bull and my neighbors tried to hit her with a shovel and a bat when she was in our yard! all she was doing was barking at my cat and the guy leaned over the fence and tried to hit her. But EVERYONE in my neighborhood loves my dog! everyone.

My aunt is a parol officer

My aunt is a parol officer for Shasta County in Norther California. She was attacked this morning by a pit bull while serving an arrest warrant on one of her cases. She's in the intensive care unit at Mercy hospital in Redding. They're flying plastic surgeons in from UC Davis to see if they can fix her face and throat. Pit pulls are natrually agreesive and very un predictable. She didn't have time to dis-charge her weapon or this dog would be dead and a innocent public servant wouldn't be in the hospital. There is a reason it's illegal in some countys to have pit bulls. This is a perfect example. It's un fortunite that certain individuals vacilitate these animals for "protection" and train them to be agresive. If you need protection buy a gun! Dont use an animal.


How dare him shoot their dog!! No matter what the back ground of the owners are, he had NO RIGHT! I too would like to know why a stun gun couldn't be used! Would the dog still have been shot if it were a little dog? Probably not. This is the kind of thing that pit bulls have to go through everyday because they are so misunderstood!! This tears me up & I hope the person who shot the dog has some what of a conscience so he has to live with this for the rest of his life!! Shame on you for taking a life!!!!

Know what you're talking about....

Stun guns???? Hello, have you been paying any attention to what is going on with the NC Department of Corrections? Some of us are fortunate enough to be Firearm Certified, but stun guns....I'm sorry, but those do not exist with Probation and Parole. If you have a problem with that, please feel free to contact you local legislatures(s)!! While I love animals, and the last thing I want to see is an animal shot, I look at it this way! I work a difficult job, deal with people that "joe" public would wanted to have anything to do with, and the last thing I need to do is worry about wether or not I'm going to make it home at the end of the night- especially over a dog!! What it all boils down to...I AM going on home at the end of my shift!!!

Support Group

Maybe they should attend a support group for all the misunderstanding that is happening. Are you seriously that ignorant? If you are attacked by a dog, regardless of the breed, you are going to do whatever it takes to defend yourself, be it run or fight. Why don't you set up a scholarship in the dog's name?


I bet all the fools who are defending this dog and the family who owned it are on parole or have been on parole before. I bet they teach their children to hate all LEO's and cheer for the crooks and the perverts.


You are the fool!! Anyone on parole or who has been on parole KNOWS parole officers pretty much own the person and their family. Not everyone who has been in prison is a crook or pervert. What gives you the right to be so judgmental?

Warrantless Search

These guys were there to do a warrantless search of this fools house. This was a condition of his parole. I can tell by all the responses at least some of the black community must think it would have been ok for the dog to tear into this officer doing his job. These dogs are not even recognized by the AKC as a legitamate breed of dog. They are nothing more than fighting and killing machines. No animal shelter in the State of North Carolina will let one of these dogs be put up for adoption and they are killed as soon as they are taken into custody. The real question is why did they have a dog like this guarding their house. I can speculate and say maybe they wanted to keep the PO's from gaining quick access to the one who was on parole. It might be safe to say the time they spent dealing with this dog gave the offender time enough to hide any illegal activity he might have been engaged in. Maybe judges should make that a condition of parole not to have any type of aggressive animals such as this type of dog or any other dog with a reputation for being a killer. I'm glad his aim was good that day and another one of the worthless mutts is out of our misery.

We tell them

We tell them they cannot handle firearms on parole, why isn't this in the same category? They can be a directed dangerous weapon of a person that directs them. Dangerous dogs need to be classified as a killing weapons and regulated like a gun by the ATF personnel. Imagine Waco if there were a few dogs like this thrown in there, it would have been a slaughter. Of the ATF.

alittle bit of input

I knew the dog. I was around him his entire life. i know for a fact he was not violent or aggressive.He was sweet. I for one love pitbulls. I also know that you have to know how to raise them. There are certain ways to deal with them and people think every pitbull is mean and aggressive. No i dont beleive anything should happen to the officer, but are there ways to prevent killing a dog in that senerio? maybe not, but it is still sad.

Thank you Tie

Your ties to the dog only sadden me more. Yes, you have to know how to raise a pit. I am sure there are books about it, just like there are books out there to keep your child from becoming a knife-wielding thug. Thank you for thinking about the dead family member. I am sure months will go by before anyone in that house stops crying themselves to sleep wondering what they could have done differently. I saw their rap sheets before they were deleted by WWAY. Sounds like regular ol' people trying to make it in NHC these days, though perhaps with a little bit of being careless with their addictions. Truth be told, if you call from even TWO blocks or ONE block away, nobody can get rid of anything. And trust this, if you call and tell me from one block away, I can promise you won't find a dog on the front porch or the front room if I love those dogs. And if there is probation, don't think twice that there would be anything to flush down a toilet or hide. Someone on probation in THIS county should know better than to try to do illegal things. The law here is GOOD and not stupid. Convicts know what they can't do. Just because they live in NHC does not mean they are stupid. Once you are scorned and pegged by the Law here, you will not have anything to flush down a toilet. You might have a dog or three to chain up out of harm's way though. Call or HONK or just hope to goodness there is not "just a dog" out there defending the family they love UNCONDITIONALLY.

repley to guestpbr

You have got to be kidding believe that just because some one is on probation or parole in North Carolina that they dont in some matter shape or form continue their former activities?? What rock have you been hiding under? A person in North Carolina does not get Intensive probation usually for their first offense, no not even drug dealers or users...most cases its their 3rd or 4th offense. Intensive Probation is where an officer of the state comes to your place of residence on a regular bases to check if your home at the appointed time and to conduct warrantless searches of the residence. Sure I guess they could call from a block away, or why not the day before and give them a heads up that they are coming to search the time you want to test this theory give your husband or wife you car keys, while they stay in the house, you go out side and give them 3 minutes in the house to hide the keys. Then you go back in and see if you can find the may not be as easy as you your talking about sex offenders who arent suppose to be around kids, sure call them and let them know your on your way...wouldnt want to find any kids in their house....habitual dui's give em a chance to pour out the alcohol.... The probablem is that we are so use to seeing all the b/s on tv shows that we loose grasp with reality... I'm sorry for the family that lost the dog, I dont know them or what type of temperment that the dog had. I agree that a dog knowes no boundries and will protect what it feels is its property, home, vehicle, person. I also agree that there should be other ways to deal with animals insted of deadly force....pepper spray does not always work, and Probation officers do not have access to tasers. I also dont think that getting bit is an answer. Probation officer have more contacts with idividuals at their home residences on a nightly bases, refered to in Probation as Home Contacts, than do more police officers or deputies sherriffs....look around your community at the number of houses that have dogs out side on a normal bases. Its not just the pit bulls, even though they seem to be the breed of choice...any large dog can be a threat when you approach a residence at night. Therefore this is something that the Department of Corrections, Division of Community Corrections, Probation/Parole needs to address, in order to protect its officers and the citizens of this State.

Sigh, alright, alright.

I can definitely see what all of y'all have been saying about my raw responses to this situation. I digress and admit, your slants on this are correct, IMO. I was not aware of the sex offender status of said person. I thought it was a bunch of addicts who got mixed up with the law, only. Yeah, there is not a good way to "notify" them, even if it is only a 1 minute away "heads up". I was thinking that it would take a person that long to put up all the dogs so the officer could enter without fear for his safety. I was thinking they would not dare have illegal things in their possession since they were already in trouble with the law. I was not thinking that "once a crook, always a crook", but I now see that many offenders (such as these people) were repeat ones. I have been living under a rock, truth be told. Scary people out there, for sure.

Regular people?

You consider people who have assaulted the police to be "regular people" and who waste their hard earned money on drugs just "trying to make it?" Who do you consider to be criminals?

Once again it was a

Once again it was a WARRANTLESS SEARCH that these PO's were going to do. What does that mean, show up uninvited and let it be a surprise. The owner, if being a responsible, loving owner would have had this dog restrained by either a large pen or fenced in yard. Then maybe you wouldn't have to ask why this officer had to do the job he did. Let's stop criticizing this officer and start praising him for a job well done. It could have been a lot worse and this officer could have been viciously attacked or even killed and then do you think the owners of this dog could have paid the medical bills or even been able to explain the bad news to the officer's FAMILY??????????????????????? Don't think so!

Attack Dog

When I was a probation officer, I had someone on my caseload who had a German Shepherd that was a trained attack dog. The first time I saw these people in my office, I told them I would be coming by their house unnanounced on a regular basis, and that the dog would need to be restrained. About a week later, I made my first trip to their house and they had built a new dog pen/kennel (inside their already fenced in back yard). These were responsible dog owners who took steps to insure both my safety and the safety of their dog. I wonder if keeping a large, agressive dog like this could be considered a probation violation anyway? A condition of probation and parole is that the offender is prohibited from possessing any deadly weapons. Could a dog like this be considered a deadly weapon? I wonder if anyone has taken that issue before a judge?

Not surprised

I'm not surprised WWAY removed my post listing the criminal pasts of Christine and Greg. WWAY seems to lack a spine when dealing with criminals. The highlights of their criminal record I posted is fact and can not be disputed. WWAY doesn't have to worry about slander, defamation of character (especially since these two don't have any) or any other silly lawsuit.


They also deleted my post with links to the DOC website that showed what they were on probation for. The article makes it sound like the probation officers rolled up on "Leave it to Beaver's" house and just shot the friendly, loving, family pet. They didn't bother to report that everyone that lived there were convicted criminals and that they owned a viscious dog. I certainly wasn't slandering anyone. Their criminal histories are public records available at several websites and the county courthouse. God forbid anyone find out the truth about the people in the story.

Typical Media

You are so correct! The media is the first to turn on law enforcement but yet if they need help they are also the first to call. They love to give them the bad rap but never give them support.

If it were your father,

If it were your father, boyfriend or husband in the situation that this PO was in wouldn’t you want him to do everything in his powers to come home safe to you at the end of the day? I know I do. This officer was protecting himself and his co-workers. That is what a good partner should do. If the owner was only a foot away, why did she not hold the dog back from attacking the officer? Wait that would be because she was not that close and most likely buying her father time to hide whatever he did not want the officer to find in the house. She knew how the dog was going to act seeing how the dog had already charged the officer once and she still did not restrain the dog. This all could have been prevented if the dog was locked up after the first attach. If you want to blame anyone for the dog passing away maybe you should blame the owner. Is this the kind of thanks that we give our law enforcement officers? So, we thank this officer by wanting him to lose his job because he is protecting his partners life and questioning his actions. When these situations happen they only have a second to react. The thoughts in his mind was to save another officer’s life or shoot the attacking dog. Which would you pick? They are underpaid for what they do and all we can do is complain about them trying to protect themselves. How about a thank you to them for keeping the drug dealers, murders and sex offenders off the street and away from our kids. I do not blame this on the dog, I do blame the owners. I love dogs and think they are great pets to have. Dogs react on how they are taught and treated. You can make any dog act aggressive. Before you make judgment on the officer maybe, you should get the real facts not just the ones that were given by the people on probation. Of course, they are not going to tell the whole story just what makes them look good.

right on

right on

My opinion

I was going to forego comment on this, but, alas I can not. First, pit bulls and rottweilers do have a bad reputation. No dispute. However, a puppy, regardless of breed, is not born aggressive. Aggression is a LEARNED behavior. Owners make dogs aggressive. Dogs can be taught to be aggressive towards people. They can also be taught to be doscile around people or other animals. Its the owners that breed aggression, not the other way around. Pitt bulls have attacked people and other animals causing death. Again, no dispute. Who made these animals aggressive. No one blaming the breed can honestly look at a litter of new born puppies and tell which ones will be "killers". Just like no one can walk into a a nursery at a hospital and see who will be the drug dealers and murders. Learned behaviors. Deal with it and stop blaming the dog. Blame the owner for not having better control of their dog. And that brings me to my second point. Yes, the dog was close to the owner when it was shot. If the dog has been taught aggression and the owner cant stop the barking when the officer's get out of the car, what makes any of you think she could have stopped the dog from biting the officers? None of us were there to see the dogs actions, nor the actions of the owner. Most dogs that come running at you barking, ears pinned back and tail erect aren't coming to give you kisses. If thats what the officer saw, he has a right to defend himself from the attack. He/ she must have been in fear of what appeared to be an imminent attack and they defended against it. This was a beautiful dog, but no one knows what behaviors the dog has been taught. I am sorry the dog was shot. I have had to shoot dogs and I hated it. I dont blame the dogs. There is always some human influence that makes the dogs act that way. Some of you would get a lot of information by watching the Dog Dhisperer. Also, of all the pit bulls recovered from the Michael Vick ordeal, most were adopted out to families. Its not the breed. Any dog can be aggressive. People are responsible for the reputation pit bulls and rotts have. Ok, I'll get off my soap box. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but before you lay blame and label a breed, research it. And no, I dont own pit pulls. My personal favorite breed is german shepard.