Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 9, 2013

West Virginia trooper shoots ‘aggressive’ pit bull in Princeton

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A dog owner had questions Monday after her son’s pit bull was shot and killed by a state trooper who believed the dog was attacking him.

Trooper W.H. File, of the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police, was answering a call at the Roundhouse Mobile Home Park on Wickham Avenue near Princeton when two pit bull dogs ran toward him, said Sgt. D.W. Miller, detachment commander. File had just gotten out of his cruiser when the dogs came toward him.

“Two full-grown pit bulls ran across the yard in an aggressive manner, and he said that he thought he was going to be attacked by them,” Miller said Monday. “He pulled his weapon and shot one of them that was coming toward him and the other scurried off.”

Miller said the mobile home park was within the detachment’s jurisdiction, and that troopers answer calls there several times a week. Miller did not recall the nature of the complaint that brought File there at approximately 8:30 p.m. on April 6.

Tonya Church, 30, a resident of the park, said one of the pit bulls had belonged to her son. It was about 6 months old.

Church said neighbors told her the trooper had come to answer a call about a dog chasing other dogs and cats, and refusing to let one person out of a home. She did not know who owned the second pit bull that ran away.

Church stated that her son had let his dog outside so it could relieve itself. The dog was not on a leash, and the yard did not have a fence.

“Our dog was in our yard. It was about eight feet from our trailer when it was shot,” she said. “I could understand if it was an aggressive dog, but it wasn’t. It was a baby. Why was my son’s dog the only one that was shot?”

Miller said troopers do not have problems with dogs very often.

“We don’t really have a standard operating procedure. We just tell the guys to be careful, and if they have to put a dog down, they have to. We don’t want them or anyone else standing around to get hurt,” he said.