Jones Co. investigator shoots, kills “threatening” pitbull

Owner claims the dog was not acting aggressively

Jones Co. investigator shoots, kills “threatening” pitbull

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - An investigator with the Jones County Sheriff’s Department shot and killed a pitbull Monday after the dog reportedly acted aggressively and lunged at the investigator.

A news release from the sheriff’s department said the dog created a “threatening situation” for the investigator, which led to the shooting.

The owner contacted us shortly after the shooting and claims the dog was not acting aggressively.

“I am so angry y’all just don’t know. To pick my dog up out the street like that,” owner Mary Rochester said.

Rochester and her family live on Hines Road in Jones County. She said this morning she heard guns shots outside her home.

“I was like why would you do this. Why would you shoot him?” Rochester said.

Rochester said her son, Michael McGill, saw an unmarked car in the driveway. He said he came out the house and witnessed a Jones County investigator shoot the family dog, a pitbull named Zeus, in the yard.

“As soon as I came out the door he just pulled his gun out and start shooting, shot the dog twice,” McGill said. “I’m like ‘oh my God,’ but see when the dude, before he start shooting, my dog he was scratching his back. That’s what he do.”

According to Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge, that’s not what the investigator, Johnathan Carter, said. Hodge said the investigator was at the home doing a routine check of address for a sex offender, and things escalated.

“[He] Was knocking on the door, under the garage, knocking on the door for someone to come, spending several minutes there knocking on the door," Hodge said. “No one ever came to the door.”

Hodge said that's when the investigator left a note, or a door hanger, on the door. Hodge said the investigator walked back to his car, and that's when he saw the dog come from around the house and towards him.

As the investigator was leaving the property, three puppies approached him, according to the release. The investigator let the pups smell his hand before making his way back to his vehicle.

The sheriff’s department said before the investigator made it back to his vehicle, an adult pitbull approached him. The release says the investigator stuck his hand out to let the dog smell him, and that’s when the dog started barking and growling.

He was slowly backing toward his vehicle when the dog lunged at him, and the investigator fired one shot, killing the dog, according to the release.

“The dog was bouncing up and down and aggressively barking at him,” Hodge said. "Of course, he is trying to retreat back to his car, at that time the dog made an aggressive lunge at him. He pulled his weapon made one shot and killed the dog immediately. "

Hodge said his department is trained to handle aggressive animals when they go on calls.

The release said after the shot was fired, six people came out of the home, including the dog’s owner. The sheriff’s department said the owner told officials on scene, “He didn’t have to kill my dog, he could have shot him in the leg.”

"It was either take action or be bit, and the investigator acted properly in my mind in minimizing the threat to himself," Hodge said.

But that's not how the family sees it.

“Then when I kept screaming at him, because I was, he said, ‘I just don’t go around killing dogs,' because I called him a murderer because he is a murder!” Rochester said.

Another resident reportedly told investigators, “People know not to come to our house because they know how our dogs are.”

The news release pointed out there were no “beware of dog” signs posted on the property.

On Monday, September 24, 2018, a Jones County Investigator was doing routine checks on the validity of addresses of...

Posted by Jones County, MS Sheriff's Department on Monday, September 24, 2018

According to the sheriff’s department’s records, there was at least one dog biting incident reported at the property on April 21, 2017. It’s unclear if the same dog was involved in that incident.

The sheriff’s department said they were told the registered sex offender that reportedly lives at the address was not home at the time.

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