A Fayetteville police officer has been placed on administrative leave after he shot and killed a dog at a home in Fayette County.
The dog’s owner, Hollie Elswick, said she was completely devastated when she heard the news on Friday and is calling for the officer, who was sworn in to duty in February, to be fired.
“If you can’t handle a dog how can you handle a criminal?” Elswick said.
Carl Harris, city attorney for the town of Fayetteville, said the city requested an independent investigation to determine what happened and what disciplinary steps, if any, will be taken.
Harris said the officer involved, Devin McDowell, has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
Elswick said McDowell drove to her property around 12:30 p.m. Friday to deliver tax papers for a property her family owns.
Elswick said she lives on the property, which is located behind the airport in Fayetteville, with her family and her father in houses that are side by side.
At the time of the incident, the only people on the property were the family’s housekeeper and the housekeeper’s 8-year-old son.
Elswick said her housekeeper was getting ready to leave when she looked outside and saw three cops in the middle of the driveway. When she went out to ask what was wrong, she was told by McDowell that he had been attacked by a dog.
“(My housekeeper) said ‘Oh my gosh I’m sorry’ and (McDowell) responded ‘I’m not the one you should say sorry to,’ and she said ‘Well, what do you mean’ and he said ‘Well, I killed your dog,’” Elswick said.
The housekeeper was then instructed to call the owners of the home by a supervising police officer.
“When she called me, they wouldn’t really let her tell me what was going on, they just said, ‘tell her to come home now,’” Elswick said.
Elswick said she remembers how upset her housekeeper was on the phone when she called.
“She was obviously really upset ‘cause her 8-year-old son was with her and he heard all this, so he’s traumatized,” she said.
When she got home, Elswick said she was told that her dog had been killed by an offi- cer, but it didn’t really hit her so she walked around to the side of her father’s home where the dog lay dead on the porch.
“When I walked around, I saw our dog there on the porch, not in the road, on the porch, with a bullet in his head,” she said. “We have two Newfoundlands and the other one was just sitting there crying and I obviously just started crying. I fell to my knees in the snow I was so upset.”
A 5-year-old female Newfoundland, the dog was named Creo. Elswick said she was
then told by an officer she identified as Chad Davis to “shut up” and “quit screaming.”
“I said what do you mean, of course I’m screaming. My dog’s dead. What happened?” Elswick said. “And he said ‘Oh, so you’re one of those mouthy ones.’”
From the time she had arrived home, Elswick said McDowell had remained in his police car.
She said she then started screaming at him to get out of his car and explain what hap- pened.
Elswick said she was then told by McDowell that the dog had attacked him, so he shot it.
“I said, ‘Well, where are your wounds?’ and he said, ‘She didn’t get the chance,’ and I said, ‘So you killed her and she didn’t even hurt you?’ and he said, ‘Well, is that what you wanted, for me to be hurt?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, if my dog is dead there should be a reason.’”
Elswick said she and her family are still in a state of shock over what happened as well as their treatment from some of the officers involved.
However, she added that one officer, JD Nottingham, was kind and considerate and even offered to help bury Creo.
On Monday, Elswick met with city officials, including Harris and Fayetteville Police Chief David Kinzer, regarding the incident and was told the independent investigations into what happened could take two weeks. She said she is not sure what good an investigation will do.
Elswick said McDowell is the only person who saw what happened. Her housekeeper and her son were inside her home at the time and did not even hear the gunshot which took place next door on her father’s porch.
“They don’t have much to go on because they don’t even wear body cams apparently,” Elswick said.
Harris confirmed that the Fayetteville Police do have body cameras, but they are currently not wearing them as they are broken. He said he was not aware how long they had been broken but said they are working on ordering new ones.
Not long after it happened, Elswick posted about the incident on Facebook. The original post has almost 1,000 shares and roughly 340 comments, the majority positive and offering condolences.
Several of the comments are also from posters who are surprised about what hap- pened, saying they remember Creo as a kind and loving dog.
Elswick said the family’s four dogs, which consist of two Newfoundlands and two Doodles, all roam the property but are confined by an electric fence.
She said Creo has been known to escape the electric fence and make trips to the airport as well as a nearby gas station and Lowe’s, but there has never been an incident with Creo being aggressive with anyone.
Elswick said Kinzer was at her father’s home two months ago, also to deliver tax papers, and was able to leave without an incident.
“(Kinzer) said he got out of his car, walked to the door, he knocked, our dog growled at him and he just walked back to his car and then he called us cause he had our number,” Elswick said. “I just don’t understand why this officer felt like he had to kill our dog when it was so easy two months ago and David Kinzer was here and had no trouble.”