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Family dog shot five times by Animal Control for being 'aggressive'


For the first time in seven years, the Fernando family in Stanly County celebrated Christmas without their dog Chato. The pit bull broke free from it's leash last Wednesday.

Two hours later it was shot five times with a shotgun by Stanly County Animal Control.

Behind Martinez Fernando's house in Albemarle, a small house made out of plywood and tarps sits underneath a tree.

He admits it's not much but it's what he could put together to keep his 7-year-old pit bull, Chato, warm and out of the rain.

"It was a nice dog," said Fernando, who lives with his wife and four young children.

Fernando says he left his home for work Wednesday morning as his wife went to a doctor's appointment. When he came back, the father of four found his wife in tears and a note from Stanly County Animal Control.

"They say they kill him," said Fernando, referring to Chato. "They say it was because it was the only way."

According to a witness, who asked not to be identified, two police officers and an animal control officer were at the Fernando's home for close to two hours chasing the dog.

Animal Control officers say the dog broke free from his leash and chased a passerby onto a porch and charged at an officer who responded to the scene.

"We were called because the animal chased someone on the porch," said an officer with Stanly County Animal Control. "It wasn't we simply showed up and the dog was loose."

The officer called the run in with the pit bull an 'extreme situation'. The officer said the dog was being aggressive and could not be trapped.

Officers say they tried to trap the dog with food and catch the dog with a choke pole. They say they nixed ideas of using pepper spray and tranquilizers because of their surroundings.

"Tranquilizers were out of the question because the area. A lot of houses and you lose sight... no telling where the dog goes," said the officer. "A gunshot to remove the threat was the only alternative."

A witness says he heard five gunshots from a shotgun before he saw the dog carried off the property.

"My wife cry for the dog... my daughter... And I feel it too, I cry on the inside," said Fernando. "If my dog was in my neighbors yard or on the street, I understand that somebody kill it. But on my property... that's why I feel bad." 

Fernando says his dog was well tempered and would always play with his children. The father says he still cannot believe what happened.

Stanly County Animal Control officers say they followed procedures

"People need to make sure their animals are restrained so these issues don't occur," said one officer. "We either protect animals from the public or protecting the public from loose and aggressive animals."

In Stanly County their is an ordinance is in place to restrain animals on less than three acres of property.

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