Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Norton Shores Police investigating unlicensed pit bulls running loose; two shot and killed

By Heather Lynn Peters, The Muskegon Chronicle

At least two unlicensed pit bulls running loose in the city of Norton Shores were shot and killed by a resident this week shortly after authorities received calls about “vicious” pit bulls attacking horses on private property, police said.

Norton Shores Police Lt. Jon Gale said a police officer discovered two dead pit bulls in the 800 block of East Norton Avenue some time around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A third pit bull — reportedly running loose with the others — had not yet been located.

“We are investigating how it occurred and why, and we hope to have this resolved soon,” Gale said, adding that the police report has been turned over to the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office for review. No one had yet been charged as of late Wednesday.

Residents in the 800 block of East Norton had reported seeing a man in a white pickup truck shooting at the pit bulls, Gale said.

The dogs’ owners — who were identified after they apparently contacted Pound Buddies Rescue about their runaway dogs —  did not have a permit to have a pit bull in the city of Norton Shores and did not have the dogs licensed, Gale said.

Owning a pit bull without a permit or license in the city violates an ordinance.

Before the dogs were killed, Gale said residents had called police to report “three pit bulls acting vicious.”

The first complaint was about 5:15 p.m. from a woman in the 700 block of East Norton, Gale said.

“The complainant called because the pit bulls were trying to get into her fenced-in yard where her dogs were located,” Gale said.

An officer sent to that area spotted the pit bulls running nearby, but then “lost sight of them,” Gale said.

About an hour later, a man called 911 to report that three pit bulls managed to get into a fenced-in area where his horses are kept, Gale said.

“They were attacking the horses,” Gale said. “The horses got scratches on their legs and one horse had to be bandaged by its owner.”

Not long after that call, authorities received several calls about “a man in the area shooting at the dogs.” Police then found the dead dogs.

Update September 17, 2010 4:38pm - The following article is by Heather Lynn Peters, The Muskegon Chronicle:
 
Charges may be filed in Norton Shores pit bull shootings case

Authorities are trying to determine whether criminal charges will be filed against a man accused of fatally shooting three unlicensed pit bulls Tuesday after they reportedly attacked a group of horses.
A third pit bull was found dead around 9 p.m. Wednesday in the 700 block of East Norton, about a block away from the area two other dead pit bulls were discovered Tuesday, said Norton Shores Police Lt. Jon Gale.
The pit bull found Wednesday was discovered stuck in the caller's fence, Gale said.
The shooter, a Norton Shores resident, has been identified by authorities, but Gale declined to give more information at this time.
The investigation has been turned over to the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office which ultimately will decide whether the alleged shooter will be charged.
The pit bull owners could face consequences as well because the dogs were unlicensed and the owners did not have the proper permit to own pit bulls in the city of Norton Shores, Gale said.
Owning a pit bull without a permit or license in the city violates an ordinance, Gale said.
Carol Olsen, who called The Chronicle Friday and identified herself as the dogs' owner, disputed reports that the dogs were vicious. She said the dogs did not pose a threat, even when they were loose. And the man that shot them went too far, she said.
"If they were vicious, why were they running away from him?" she said.
Olsen also claimed she does not live in Norton Shores.
Prior to the dogs being shot Tuesday, authorities began receiving calls about "three pit bulls acting vicious."
One caller said the dogs attempted to get into a fenced-in area where she kept her dogs and a separate caller -- who called police about an hour later -- said the dogs were attacking his horses.
Not long after that call, authorities received several calls about "a man in the area shooting at the dogs." Police then found two dead dogs Tuesday in the 800 block of East Norton.

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