(FAIRHOPE, Ala.) - A family dog was “wagging its tail” before it was shot dead by a deputy on its own porch, witnesses told Local 15.
The incident happened Monday morning off of County Road 3 in the Fairhope area.
A resident told Local 15 a Baldwin County Sheriff’s Deputy drove down their gravel road and pulled up to the edge of their neighbor’s yard.
“The deputy got out of his car and knelt down by the side of it,” Tyler Swafford, still rattled, said. “There was a dog sitting at the edge of the porch, wagging its tail, and he shot it. It looked like he did it for no reason.”
The owners, who did not want to go on camera, told Local 15 the dog’s name is Maddie and she’s been in their family for more than ten years. He said the family is devastated, and Maddie was a gentle dog loved by his young children.
In a written statement, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call from a neighbor on the other side of the fence from where the dog lived. The caller said there was “a large Pit Bull running at large and acting aggressively” and claimed it had tried to bite him.
The responding deputy said when he got there, he observed the dog “running up and down the roadway acting aggressively toward the complainant.” The deputy said he went to the dog owner’s home. When he exited his vehicle, the deputy claims the “dog charged” and he “shot the animal in an attempt to stop the attack.”
Photos obtained by Local 15 show Maddie was shot multiple times in the head and leg, and witnesses question the deputy’s account according to the press release.
“The dog was not vicious at all and was wagging its tail,” Tyler Swafford said. “It didn’t even come off its porch [when the deputy pulled up].”
Tyler’s mother Kim Swafford told Local 15 the deputy told her the dog “tried to attack him” and “jump into his patrol car.”
The dog’s owner will meet personally with the Sheriff Wednesday. The press release said the incident is under internal investigation.