Deputy fatally shoots dog during welfare check in Pender County

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Pender County Sheriff's Office (Photo: WWAY)

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Pender County Sheriff’s Office has released more details after a deputy fatally shot a dog during a welfare check earlier this month.

On Saturday, August 15, one of the deputies received a call from his father concerning the well being of Stanley Benson, who had failed to show up at a scheduled church work day event. PCSO says deputies tried contacting Benson multiple times over a 24-hr period, but were unsuccessful. Deputies responded to Wolfe Run Road in Burgaw around 10:30 a.m. to check on Benson at his home. PCSO says one of the responding deputies knew Benson from church.

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When they arrived, the deputy who knew him went to his front door and knocked. As deputies approached his home, a dog began barking from inside the home. Benson then answered the door and when he spoke to the deputy, he opened his door and the dog reportedly ran outside. The dog continued to bark and growl while the initial deputy explained why they were there, according to deputies.

When the dog ran out of the house, deputies say he aggressively proceeded toward two deputies who were there to assist. According to PCSO, the dog initially ran towards one of the two deputies, who was able to jump into the open bed of a pickup truck to put distance between himself and the dog. After the deputy jumped into the truck, deputies say the dog turned toward the third deputy who attempted to retreat and look for protection from the dog. PCSO says the dog continued to advance aggresively toward the deputy while growling and showing his teeth. The deputy then reportedly pulled his gun and shot the dog approximately one foot from the deputy.

The Pender County Sheriff’s Office Policies and Procedures states in Section 3.12: The killing of an animal is justified for self defense, to prevent harm to the deputy or another person or when the animal is so badly injured that it not continue to suffer.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Alan Cutler released this statement:

“This is a very unfortunate situation that has understandably impacted Mr. Benson, the deputies who were there, and has caused a lot of concern within our community.

The investigation into this matter revealed that that the breed of dog, a Dutch Shepard and Belgian Malinois mix is a breed that by nature is very protective of his home turf and protective of his owner. Neighbors indicated that the dog could be aggressive with new-comers to the property with whom the dog was not familiar. At least one neighbor had reported a past instance where the dog ran toward children in the neighborhood in an aggressive manner.

I hate that this event ended the way that it did but, I am confident that the deputy took the action necessary to protect himself from imminent harm.

In closing, I would ask that anyone having pets, please secure your animals if any type of first responder approaches your home. While we cannot change the outcome of this case, I do want to do everything within my power to help reduce 0chances of this type of event re-occuring.”