Beware: Pit bull with possible gunshot wound could be on the loose

CAMDEN-WYOMING — A possibly wounded pit bull dog remained at large a day after being targeted by police gunfire during a domestic incident early Monday afternoon, authorities said.

Delaware State Police spokeswoman Master Cpl. Melissa Jaffe confirmed that a weapon was discharged after the dog “charged at the officer in an aggressive manner.”

It was unknown if the dog was struck, police said. The canine ran into the woods near Westville Road.

The dog had not been located as of Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Though the OAW did not receive any reports about a potentially aggressive dog in the Camden-Wyoming area Monday, officials said that law enforcement is not required provide that information.

“The office enjoys a positive relationship with law enforcement and often receive calls from them if they have concerns about an animal’s welfare,” spokeswoman Andrea Wojcik said.

Officials said anyone in the public who spots a stray and/or wounded dog can contact the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare at 255-4646.

Speaking generally, Office of Animal Welfare Chief Mark Tobin encouraged residents not to approach unfamiliar animals, but to contact OAW if the animals appear lost or injured while offering safety tips for avoiding attacks if approached by a potentially aggressive dog.

“First, do not turn your back or run away,” he said. “Running may actually increase a dog’s prey drive and could trigger an attack. Stay still.

“If you have a pet with you, try to put yourself between you and your pet to break eye contact between the two. Hold your hand out in a ‘stop’ gesture and state firmly, ‘No!’ Use the command, ‘Sit!’ This command is the most commonly-used command with dogs and therefore, the approaching dog may comply.

“Slowly walk away, facing the dog, while continuing to say, ‘Sit.’ If the dog continues to approach in an aggressive manner, try to put something in between you and the dog, like a backpack, jacket, leash, tree, etc.

“If a dog attacks your dog, do not ever get in between the fighting dogs or you may become injured. You can yell for help from bystanders, who may call 9-1-1 or assist in separating the dogs.

“To try to separate the dogs, you can pull on the dogs’ tails to try to get them to release and stop fighting.

“If you use an object to try to separate the dog, be aware that the dog may turn against that object or you. If at all possible, try to get inside a car or building with your pet and away from the attacking dog.”

An incident unfolds

Troopers on Monday initially responded to a reported domestic issue involving a boyfriend and girlfriend in the 7000 block of Westville Road at 1:10 p.m. John R. Slack was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest and pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

In an arrest affidavit filed by State Police no mention was made of a dog being involved. It was not clear how many shots were discharged toward the targeted dog.

No injuries were reported to anyone involved.

In the affidavit, police said Mr. Slack allegedly emerged from the residence “and started to swear at (two troopers)” while refusing to remove his hands from his pockets and referring to them in by a racially-charged description.

Troopers instructed Mr. Slack “to put his hands behind his back,” documents said, but the man allegedly refused. An attempt at handcuffing him was made and police said Mr. Slack “resisted both of us by tucking his hands into his chest and refusing to comply.”

Mr. Slack was eventually secured with handcuffs, authorities said.

Police were told that a 911 call was made and Mr. Slack and his girlfriend “have an ongoing domestic issue,” according to court documents. Mr. Slack was allegedly seen hitting a vehicle while yelling for a person to exit, the affidavit said.

Mr. Slack was presented at Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and released on $1,500 unsecured bail. An arraignment was scheduled for March 28.

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