Myrtle Beach woman mourns dog’s death, disputes police account of shooting

troot@thesunnews.comApril 11, 2013 

A Myrtle Beach area woman, whose dog was shot and killed by an Horry County police officer, said her dog was not an aggressive animal.

“It’s an absolute tragedy and it should have never happened,” said Christine Orlando, whose dog, Hayden, a 10-year-old rescue retriever was killed Tuesday morning when police were called to her apartment for a civil dispute.

“He started nipping at one of the officer’s feet. That’s what he does. That’s his way of saying just back up. Not in a threatening way. He never lunged,” Orlando said Thursday morning. “He had never done any harm to anyone in his life. He was one of the most amazing animals. He did not need to die.”

Horry County police were called about 5:15 a.m. Tuesday to an apartment at 913 Marshfield Circle for a civil complaint between two roommates regarding electricity being turned off, according to the report. The dog’s owner was arguing with her roommate because he shut off the power to their apartment.

When the officer’s arrived, one officer knocked on the door and heard a dog barking, according to the report. When the dog owner opened the door, the black retriever, weighing about 100 pounds, charged out into the breezeway and attacked one of the officers, according to the report.

The report stated the dog bit the other officer’s foot, while he yelled for the woman to get her dog, but the dog continued and ignored “any verbal or physical attempts of the complaint to restrain it,” according to the report.

The officer tried to draw his gun, but was unable to do so because the woman “pushed down on his holster,” according to the report. Another officer asked the woman to restrain her dog and the dog briefly ran back into the open door of the apartment. Then it ran back out into the breezeway.

One of the officers used his gun and shot the dog once in the head, which killed it, according to the report. The officers did not suffer any injuries during the incident and they called Horry County Environmental Services to take the dog for proper disposal.

Horry County police Sgt. Robert Kegler said the incident was not under investigation.

Orlando disputed the account in the police report and said she argued with her roommate about some money due on Thursday, so he shut off the power to the apartment. Orlando said instead of continuing the argument, she called police.

The apartment was dark and Orlando said she was unaware her dog followed her from her bedroom when she went to answer the door for police. Orlando said her dog did not return to the apartment and she did not grab at an officer’s gun.

“There was a lot of yelling involved with the officers, which heightened the circumstance,” Orlando said and noted her dog took note of the officer drawing his gun. “I immediately acted on impulse and jumped in front of the officer and begged please do not shoot my dog. . . As soon as a he had a clear shot, he shot my dog in the head.”

Orlando said no blood was drawn and the officer’s uniforms were not damaged by her dog nipping at their feet.

“My dog never returned back into that house. The only time my dog turned to come back into the house was when he came back in to die. I never pushed anybody’s gun back into the holster,” Orlando said. “This is just insane. They were called for a reason and it turned into an absolute nightmare.”

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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