On Nov. 9 in an apartment parking lot in Dalton, Georgia, a dog went ape-shit on a Dodge Journey (an automobile that falls squarely in the “unfortunate” category) in an effort to catch some cats hiding in the engine bay. The car’s owner was livid, and asked a responding officer to shoot the canine. Here’s a video of the hectic scene.
The video starts with the dog standing in what looks like a pile of chewed-up wheel-liner pieces, frantically tearing at the SUV’s front bumper:
The car’s owner, Jessica Dilallo, can be heard asking the responding officer, Lieutenant Matthew Locke, to use force, saying:
“You can’t throw a rock at him, you can’t do anything?...You could shoot him!”
As Locke tries calmly explaining why he doesn’t want to hurt the dog, Dilallo cuts him off and—clearly overwhelmed by the situation—says: “Maybe we stop talking and we get the dog off of my car!”
To learn more about this incident, I called the Dalton Police Department, and spoke with public relations specialist Bruce Frazier. He told me that Dilallo had called the police at around 11 p.m. after finding the dog chewing on her car in her apartment parking lot area.
When officers arrived, Frazier said, Dilallo suggested that the officers throw rocks or even shoot the animal. Frazier told me that because Lieutenant Matthew Locke “was pretty comfortable with the fact that the animal was not being aggressive towards people,” he decided against harming the dog.
Frazier went on, telling me why shooting the dog would have been the wrong call, saying: “Using a gun in that situation wasn’t a very good option because number one, we didn’t want to kill the dog. And number two,” he continued, “it was in the parking lot of an apartment complex, and there are lots of ways that can go wrong.”
As for less than lethal methods like pepper spray, Frazier told me the officer was concerned that it might just anger the already-riled-up dog, and perhaps escalate the situation further.
The good news is that the ordeal seems to have had a relatively happy ending. Though animal control in Dalton is handled by the county (which was apparently too busy to arrive on the scene promptly), the Dalton Police Department was able to use an improvised catch pole to hold the dog in place for a bit so that, eventually, animal control could take the pitbull-mix away to a shelter.
The shelter later identified the owner, who claimed that the dog had escaped the yard by digging under a fence. Police did not cite the man, though they did remind him of local leash laws.
Frazier told me the dog’s owner offered to pay Dilallo for the damages, and agreed to secure his fence to prevent the dog from escaping again. As of today, the Dalton Police Department spokesman told me, “The woman has either gotten her car fixed or will be getting her car fixed.”
Between all that, and the two cats being recovered from the engine bay unscathed, this seems like it could have turned out much worse. Though it is worth noting that other news sites say Dilallo has received death threats for suggesting the officers harm the dog. Frazier told me over the phone that, as far as he knows, she has not yet reported those threats to the Dalton Police Department. I reached out to Dilallo, but she didn’t immediately respond.