Thursday, May 20, 2010


R.I.P Bella...You will surely be missed.I'll let the post below speak for itself.  It is from the Justice for Bella Petition site where you can sign a petition.
Our Beloved Sweet Dog, Bella...

         Shot and Killed by Cabarrus County Animal Control

On April 29, 2010, our beloved dog, Bella, escaped from our back yard and was shot and killed by an animal control officer. Despite showing no aggression and surrounded by neighbors and children, the officer used excessive and unnecessary force to capture a frightened animal. For him, it resolved a frustrating situation that had exceeded his time limit; for us, it murdered a member of our family.

Bella and her companion, Jaxson were just two streets over when a neighbor contacted the Cabarrus County Animal Control to retrieve them. While many people in the area were familiar with the friendly nature of our dogs, on this day they were prematurely feared due to misconceptions about their breed. American Pitbull Terriers are often portrayed as intimidating, muscular and vicious , but as our pets, they were loving, docile and kind. We raised them both with our six year old daughter, Jayden, who loved and played with them like siblings.

Two Police Officers attempted to catch the dogs. Jaxson, came and jumped into the back of the police car as soon as they opened the door. Bella was a little more hesitant. Animal control was called. The Animal Control Officer attempted to capture the Bella by chasing her with a catch pole. She simply ran around in circles and in fear. During this time, neighbors and children familiar with the dogs attempted to explain that they knew the owners and that the dogs were harmless. They were ignored.

After several failed attempts to catch Bella, witnesses watched as the officer shot her in the back while she was running away. Witnesses say that Bella screamed and continue to try and run. Her legs flailed from under her and she fell to the ground. Since the officer had not been trained on the proper use of a tranquilizer gun, he fired a 9 mm handgun at a helpless, frightened animal surrounded by neighbors, several of whom were children.He had only been on the scene for 20 minutes.

Witnesses watched as the officers put her into a crate in the back of his truck to return to animal control. At the time, no one knew if she was alive or dead and the animal control officers did not seem to care. As soon as we arrived home and learned what happened, we immediately contacted animal control only to learn that the office was closed. Despite having microchips, with all of our information, implanted on our dogs , we were never contacted by the animal control department about the situation or to retrieve our pets. After calling again the next morning, we were told that we could come and get the Jaxson at noon and could speak with the officer that shot Bella. When we arrived, we asked the officer about Bella's body, we were told that she had already been destroyed, her body cremated along with three other dogs.

The officer that shot Bella showed absolutely no remorse, compassion, respect or humanity. Since we had never known either of the dogs to be aggressive, we asked the officer if she showed any signs of aggression to anyone while they were trying to catch her. When he told us that she had not, we asked why he shot and killed her. He replied, "What do you want me to do? Stay there for three hours? I have other calls to get to. I'm not going to just leave a pit bull running around a neighborhood."

The only report from animal control states that they seized two dogs: Victims: 0, Weapons/Tools: Not Applicable none, Forcible: no.

While the animal control report omits the use of a weapon and the death of our dog, our story is validated with notarized witness statements, children who watched the tragedy take place, and video footage of our conversations with the animal control officer.

Bella was a sweet and loving dog to both familiar faces and strangers alike and we will miss her terribly. We will do everything in our power to ensure Bella's murder will improve animal control procedures and ensure the ethical treatment of animals. While our dog did not have to die in such a cruel and senseless manner, we hope to make a change and prevent this tragedy from happening to anyone else.

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