No charges have been filed against a Bibb County man who fired a shotgun loaded with bird shot into the air above the Macon police’s explosives and firearms-sniffing German shepherd.
Pete Poole, who is a neighbor of the dog’s handler in south Bibb County, said he didn’t fire directly at the police dog named Arco.
“I was trying to run the animal off. I love animals. Some people say I love them more than people,” Poole said Tuesday.
Police say officer Brian Mathis, Arco’s handler, stopped at his home on Goodall Mill Road about 5:10 p.m. Dec. 27 to drop something off. While there, Mathis let Arco go to his backyard to relieve himself.
About 10 minutes later, Mathis heard a gunshot and saw Arco running toward his home. That’s when he noticed a small stream of blood trickling from near the dog’s tail, according to a Bibb County Sheriff’s Office report.
The dog’s exact location at the time of the shooting is disputed.
Poole said he was in his basement when he heard his two bulldogs -- who were contained in an outdoor pen -- barking. He said he went outside and saw Arco but didn’t know he was a police dog or that his neighbor was the dog’s handler.
Arco had been in Poole’s yard bothering his dog three times in recent days. Poole said he had tried yelling and running the dog out of the yard, but the dog kept coming back.
Seeing the dog in his yard again, Poole yelled at him and tried to chase him away. Poole said that’s when he went inside and retrieved a shotgun loaded with bird shot.
Poole said he fired a shot into the air above Arco.
“I didn’t shoot the dog,” he said.
Mathis was in his yard with family members while Arco was relieving himself. The yard is fenced, but the fence has several holes in the rear of the lot, according to police.
Mathis contends that Arco was walking near the back of his property toward a vacant lot when Mathis heard the gunshot, according to police.
Arco sustained minor injuries to his ear and lower back near his tail. He was examined by a veterinarian and was cleared to return to work the same day, said Sgt. Melanie Hofmann, a police spokeswoman.
The veterinarian determined that it appeared as though Arco had been shot from “some distance.” The injuries were not life-threatening and shouldn’t interfere with his job. They’re similar to injuries often sustained by hunting dogs, police said.
Poole said he didn’t want to stir up trouble but was concerned that a dog in the yard might incite a dog fight.
He said he also doesn’t understand why Arco was running free.
Allowing a dog to run loose, without being on a leash or under some form of restraint, onto another person’s property without permission is a violation of Bibb County’s nuisance ordinance.
No information was available Tuesday about whether an internal affairs investigation had been conducted regarding Mathis’ conduct.
No charges have been filed against Mathis, according to the sheriff’s office.
Police purchased Arco in 2009 using money from confiscated funds.
Bibb County deputies investigated the shooting and transferred the case file to the district attorney’s office, said Sgt. Sean DeFoe.
The district attorney’s office still is investigating, according to the district attorney’s office.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.