Church leaders question shooting of ‘aggressive’ dog inside homeless shelter at church

Posted: Updated:

Church leaders are questioning why police opened fire on a dog inside a halfway house in Lakewood as they were attempting to serve a warrant.

The shooting occurred Wednesday around 5 p.m. on Madison Avenue.

According to prosecutors, police were trying to find a man wanted by Manchester police for a violation of a restraining order and stalking at the Samaritan House next to All Saints Episcopal Church.

Prosecutors say the officer encountered Bella, an ‘aggressive’ nearly 2-year-old pit bull mix dog that ran toward the officer.

The officer then fired his weapon, hitting the dog in the leg. 

The dog was transported by Lakewood EMS to a veterinary hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

The officer, whose name was not released, was not harmed.

A spokesperson for the Episcopal diocese in New Jersey questioned the response by police and in a statement said, "Samaritan House staff have always cooperated fully with authorities seeking to serve lawful arrest warrants, while still protecting the safety and privacy of other residents. In past cases, police notified staff, who then entered Samaritan House to bring out the requested individual. One of the questions that needs to be answered is why police apparently did not follow this procedure in this case. The diocese has contacted the Lakewood Police Chief with the hope of beginning this process."

According to the prosecutor’s office, the officer involved in the shooting remains on full duty.

AP wire services helped contribute to this report.

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