Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No charges for owner of escaped pit bull shot in New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — No charges will be filed against the owner of a pit bull that was shot and killed by police after the dog escaped from its home and lunged at an officer, New Port Richey police said Tuesday.

Officer Greg Williams had no choice but to shoot Sky, the 85-pound female pit bull that charged at him Monday near its home at 5324 Luna Vista Drive, police Chief James Steffens said.

"It's an unfortunate thing, but he did what he had to do," Steffens said.

Williams said he met with Sky's owner, 33-year-old Sarah Wagner, who was emotional over the loss of her dog but also understood the officer's decision to open fire. Wagner could not be reached for comment.

Because no one was injured and Wagner showed remorse, she will not face charges, Williams said. The fate of Wagner's other pit bull, which was also involved in the incident Monday, remains to be seen.

On Monday, just before noon, the city's new volunteer Animal Protection Unit received a call from a man who said two pit bulls had tried to attack him. The man said he managed to fight off the dogs with a trash can and escaped.

Williams and the city's volunteer animal control officer, Jeff McReynolds, went to the area and found Sky and Wagner's other pit bull standing over the body of a cat that also lived with the dogs. Police believe one or both dogs mauled the cat and dragged it into a field near the home.

The dogs took off when the officers arrived. Williams and McReynolds found the pit bulls a short time later, and McReynolds tried to restrain one dog with a control stick. The other dog, Sky, charged toward Williams, who shot the dog in the head.

"I feel bad. I'm a dog lover," Williams said. "When you go out to something like this, it's not the outcome you want or expect."

The other dog took off. It's still unclear how the pit bulls got out of their home, but Williams believes one of the dogs may have jumped on a push-down handle on the front door, which was open when officers arrived.

Several hours after the shooting, Wagner called Williams and said her other dog had returned. Williams said the owner is deciding whether to surrender the dog to police.

Police cannot seize the dog because neither officer saw which dog killed the cat or attacked the pedestrian, Williams said. But if Wagner decides to keep the dog, animal protection will make sure the dog is licensed, has tags and is properly vaccinated, he said.

No charges for owner of escaped pit bull shot in New Port Richey 10/30/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii


    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan


    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville


    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that ‘both sides” bore blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer


    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry


    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.