Dog shot and killed by bystander after attacking woman: police

Takoma Park Police are investigating after a man shot and killed a dog early Tuesday morning.

The man does not face any charges at this time and is cooperating with police, according to his wife.

Police say a woman was on a walk with three dogs around 1 a.m. when something happened.  Multiple neighbors tell Fox 5 they heard whimpering and what sounded like a woman struggling.

"I heard something. It woke me up out of my sleep," said the wife of the man who shot the dog, asking not to be identified, "We then heard the whimpering of an individual outside our bedroom window that sounded like a lady in distress."

The man immediately called 9-1-1 and ran to the side steps of their duplex.  By then, the woman had gotten to a set of front stairs.  The woman says she asked the dog walker if she needed help, and offered to give her towels since she was bleeding.

"I told her the paramedics were on their way, we’re on the phone with 9-1-1, just saying stay calm," the neighbor said.

The dog walker had one of the three dogs in her hand, but the neighbors didn’t know where the other two were. The husband and wife, still standing on their own stairs and away from the yard, say a dog then charged at them.  The husband had his registered firearm on him, and the wife told Fox 5 they didn’t have enough time to get inside to safety, so he shot two times at the dog, killing it.

"The dog that was being aggressive bolts out of nowhere and comes directly at me and my husband and showing all teeth, just growling everything, the same dog that we witnessed out of our bedroom window that was attacking this female," the woman said.

Fox 5 spoke with Sarah Hunter, a neighbor across the street who independently described the same sequence of events as the husband and wife; a woman in distress, walking to the front stairs, getting help from the family on the side stairs, the dog rushing the family on the side stairs, the shots fired.

Hunter and another neighbor who spoke off-camera with Fox 5 believed the actions of the man who shot the dog were justified given the situation.

The wife of the man who shot the dog tells Fox 5 they have a dog of their own and are sincerely sorry to the family for what happened, but in the moment, felt like it was the only option.

"From my family to theirs, I apologize, because it was nothing malicious, it was nothing that my husband wanted to do, but he felt like he had to do," the woman said, "I have to question had we not come out, would this young lady still be alive? Would she still have her life. I can’t stress that enough, that I’m thankful that my husband was able to show bravery and come out and do what he did. Had he not, we don’t know what the outcome would have been."

Fox 5 also spoke with the dog walker’s family Wednesday.

They tell Fox 5 they have lingering questions about what exactly happened, emphatic that the dog’s behavior was such that it would not have attacked its owner.

"That’s really not her personality and anything that would have been on a normal day," said Randi Martin, the dog walker’s mother.

Another thing the family wants more answers on: the injuries.  They say the dog walker suffered a serious brain injury that required surgery, and some scrapes consistent with being dragged, but Randi Martin says there were no bite marks.

Martin also questioned if shooting and killing the dog was necessary.

"I just have concern around the immediate response and the use of the gun and why there weren’t other options taken or decisions made to prevent this from happening," Martin said.  Martin added that the dog that was shot and killed belonged to her daughter, and she was dog sitting two other dogs; something she has familiarity and expertise in, making this situation more difficult to comprehend.

She says her daughter remains in stable condition at the ICU and declined to share any insights about what her daughter said happened because her daughter has not yet spoken with Takoma Park Police.