December 23, 2014
According to a December 22 report by WJHL News 11, a Tennessee family is wanting answers after their dog was shot by police December 18 in her own yard.
Shatona Lunceford of Mountain City told News 11 that while away in Johnson City, she received several phone calls from her neighbors about police being at her home.
Officers from the Mountain City Police Department were responding to an auto burglary call in the parking lot of a local restaurant when then chase turned in the direction of Shatona’s home.
Responding officers had reason to believe the suspect was hiding out in her home, especially after they found the door to her house unlocked. Police Chief Denver Church confirmed her dog was shot because the officer thought the dog was being aggressive.
The responding officers opened the door, which allowed the family dog an opportunity to escape the home. The dog, a bull mastiff named Sam, ran towards her fence, then turned to come back toward the officer. At this point, the officer shot Sam.
Shatona says of the shooting
“They thought the man that was running from them was inside my house…I don’t care if they thought he was in there or not they should’ve never opened up my door.”
Shatona and her boyfriend claim Sam had no history of being violent. Unfortunately, her younger children were home at the time.
“My younger children were here and watched them put him in a trash bag and carried him away.”
The Mountain City Police Department refuses to release the dog back to the family, telling them the dog is in the cooler down at the police department. Chief Church told News 11 Sam will be returned once the auto burglary investigation is complete.
No one was arrested at the home, but Perry Braddock of Laurel Bloomery was later charged with auto burglary and is set to appear in court next month. More arrests are expected in the case.
Meanwhile, Shatona is left to explain to her young children how police can just open the door to their home, then shoot and kill their pet after they allowed him to escape.
Information for the Mountain City government officials, including the police department, can be found here