Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

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.

Comments
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Published: 02/24/18
Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating allegations that multiple deputies failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after the shooting rampage there, adding to the mounting internal probes examin...
Published: 02/24/18
Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

TAMPA — A registered sex offender was arrested early Saturday morning by Tampa Police in connection with a hotel worker who was attacked earlier this week, the department said.John Eckhard, 41, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. on charges of aggravated ba...
Published: 02/24/18
Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

The 13 Turpin siblings gained their freedom last month after one of them escaped through a window and called 911, ending years of imprisonment under parents accused of starving and chaining them to their beds in a putrid home not far from Los Angeles...
Published: 02/24/18
Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

After the Parkland school shooting that horrified the nation, a Miami father told police he was worried about his son’s disturbing posts with guns on Instagram and Snapchat.So he gave investigators his son’s smartphones — and they found child porn, c...
Published: 02/24/18
Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

WASHINGTON — Once again, it was the images of children that propelled President Donald Trump to act. Trump spent the first days after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida fixated on the grieving and anguished students and parents. While at his Flor...
Published: 02/24/18
Gun legislation unease looms over Tampa gun show attendees, vendors

Gun legislation unease looms over Tampa gun show attendees, vendors

TAMPA — Hundreds lined up minutes after one of the state’s biggest gun shows opened its doors Saturday morning at the Florida State Fairgrounds.About 400 people from the entrance stood Austin Nichols, a 19-year-old looking to get a deal on bullets. H...
Published: 02/23/18
Updated: 02/24/18
Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

This is the sad new math in the age of school slaughter. If one student comes to school with a firearm and 10 ammunition magazines filled with 30 bullets each, and another comes with a firearm and 30 magazines filled with 10 bullets each, who can cr...
Published: 02/23/18