Dog owner, officials have conflicting stories after officer shoots animal

Dog owner, officials have conflicting stories after officer shoots animal
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:49 PM EDT
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KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WITN) - The owner of a dog is remembering the animal’s final moments after she was shot and killed by a police officer on the Outer Banks this weekend.

Town officials say the officer shot the dog because she was acting aggressively and bit him.

Jonathan Fenton claims no such thing happened.

“I was on the porch looking at him and I was in shock. I was like, ‘what are you doing?’” Fenton recalls, saying he is still reeling from that moment.

Fenton says at what he believes was about 9 a.m. on Saturday, he was out cleaning debris from Hurricane Ian from his yard. His dogs were with him.

“At some point, I came up to get some water. I was in the house coming back out to the porch and I noticed a gentleman through my window coming down the driveway because the dog started barking,” Fenton remembers.

Town officials have not yet confirmed who the officer that shot and killed the dog was despite WITN’s public records requests, but Fenton says he later found Officer Robert Meador’s picture on the department’s website and recognized him from the encounter.

“He kept walking toward my porch so my dogs got more loud barking. I came out on the porch to call them back and see who this man was,” Fenton says. “Before I could do anything, he had his gun drawn, and he shot three bullets into my dog’s head.”

Fenton says he asked the officer why he did it.

“And he said my dog bit him, and I said ‘No she didn’t. Show me.’ And he wouldn’t show me,” Fenton says. “He stood over my dog, she’s wagging her tail. Blood’s coming out of her head and then she’s dead.”

The officer then left.

The Kitty Hawk Police Department referred WITN in its inquiries to the town, which said the officer was responding to a call at the time of a dog running loose and being aggressive toward children.

When the officer found the dog’s owner, officials say the dog came from under the house, “aggressively charged the officer, and bit him.”

Fenton says none of that is true, adding that his dog, Sage, a Staffordshire Terrier/Lab mix, was very gentle.

Jonathan Fenton and his dog, Sage
Jonathan Fenton and his dog, Sage(Jonathan Fenton)

“She flies on the airplane with me. Everybody sits and pets her. She helps the whole airplane because everybody loves dogs. She’s flown with me across the country 5 or 6 times,” Fenton says.

A memorial now stands in Fenton’s yard in Sage’s memory.

The town tells WITN the officer is on administrative leave. Fenton believes he should not return to the force.

Bill Coleman with the Dare County SPCA says dog bites in the county are usually reported to them, but as of yet, they aren’t aware of a dog bite report in this case.

Coleman shared that he would tell WITN if he hears anything different.

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