FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A local animal refuge that’s billed as a “no-kill” facility is under investigation. The probe comes after a dog was shot to death shortly after attacking a volunteer. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller looks into the shooting that’s sparking social media outrage.
“Her arm was ripped from I would say right above the hand all the way up to her elbow.” Describing the dog bite injuries a senior volunteer suffered Sunday at Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge, Marge Bart says there was only one choice for what happened next.
“Any time a dog gets in the ‘red zone’ and is willing to kill somebody, to me there’s no other option. And I would do the same thing tomorrow if it were to occur,” Ms. Bart said.
Ms. Bart ordered a five-year-old boxer mix named Chico be put down shortly after it attacked the volunteer.
“The man who was a Fish and Game Commission Officer shot the dog,” she said.
Eyewitness News recorded video of Chico a month earlier for a story on pet adoptions. Blue Chip described him at the time as being good with large dogs and teens, that he was house and leash trained and knew many commands. But on Sunday, something went wrong while Chico played fetch with the volunteer who needed more than 200 stitches to close her wounds.
Jeff Solimini was doing community service at Blue Chip when he took a photo of the shooting aftermath. He claims after the attack Chico was safely contained in the dog park and didn’t need to be shot. He posted about it on Facebook which triggered hundreds of comments and shares.
Ms. Bart responded by saying, “People have said well why didn’t you tranquilize the dog. Well, number one we don’t have that capability to shoot the dog with a dart gun. We don’t have the medicine. We don’t have any of that.”
Chico isn’t the only dog whose life ended by gunfire at Blue Chip. Ms. Bart says there was one other instance in her 15 years of operating the refuge when turning to gunfire was the only option.
Blue Chip is home to more than 200 animals including 50 dogs. Senior Volunteer Marie Kapral pointed out one named Jax and described him as “one of our permanent residents here.” When asked if he was adoptable she said, “No, he’s not.” Until a humane officer’s investigation is complete, many will question why the life of Chico, who was considered adoptable, couldn’t be spared.
Ms. Kapral said, “I love these dogs and I loved Chico. But it was the best thing for him because if it happened then, we don’t know if and when it would happen again.”
A Luzerne County SPCA Humane Officer tells Eyewitness News he expects to complete his investigation into the shooting by next week.