Cop shoots cane corso after man gets mauled by dogs: 'It was either the man's life or the dog'

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Friday, May 3, 2024
Officer fatally shoots cane corso after man mauled by dogs
Philadelphia officer fatally shoots cane corso after man mauled by dogs in Mantua

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia police officer shot and killed a cane corso dog after it and three pit bulls attacked a man in the city's Mantua neighborhood.

It happened on Wednesday around 10:16 a.m. on the 3900 block of Fairmount Avenue.

Police said the incident began when a witness pointed out the pack of dogs to an officer on patrol.

Disturbing video, which police are using in their investigation, shows the man fighting back against the four loose dogs.

Neighbors said he was trying to protect his own dog. Eventually, the man is taken to the ground as the struggle ensues.

Good Samaritans can be seen trying to help the man, but the dogs threaten to attack, causing them to retreat.

Philadelphia police say the officer on the scene attempted to use his siren to distract the dogs, but they continued their attack.

The officer then exited his vehicle and fired multiple rounds, killing the cane corso. The pit bulls fled the scene.

It's unclear if any of the other dogs were injured by gunfire.

This all unfolded right in front of Sharon Owens' home. She told Action News she heard four gunshots.

"It was scary. It was very scary because that's like too close for comfort to hear gunshots," Owens said.

After the shooting, the cane corso staggers away, eventually collapsing and dying in the street.

Police said the 53-year-old mauling victim suffered bite wounds all over his body. He was taken to the hospital and listed in stable condition.

Sarah Barnett, the executive director of ACCT Philly, said they were not called to respond, likely due to how quickly the situation unfolded.

"That's the kind of situation where you don't really have time to call animal control," Barnett said.

"Our officers would always respond to that kind of situation very quickly, but in that instance, time was really of the essence, unfortunately."

Barnett said the most important thing now is finding the owner and potentially learning more about the dogs' history.

"It's important to know where are they coming from, are they often loose? Are they never loose? Is this a rare occasion? Making sure to talk to the owner, just find the owner and figure out the details of it and also, for the victim's sake, were they vaccinated? Were they not?"

Barnett went on to say, "I feel terrible for the individual who is injured. I feel terrible for the police officer who went through having to shoot a dog ... and I feel bad for the dogs too."

Police said the officer has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police also said the officer's body camera was not activated at the time of the attack.

Owens felt the officer didn't have a choice.

"It was either the man's life or the dog."

Another neighbor, James Jackson, agreed.

"They had to do what they had to do ... shoot him to get him off, he could've got killed himself," Jackson said.

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