Halifax Regional Police say six men and two women have been charged after the investigation into a Dartmouth break and enter – and an internal review is underway of the related shooting of a dog.
Seven of the suspects, all from Dartmouth, were arrested Sunday around 8:40 a.m. at a residence on Portland Street. An eighth was arrested elsewhere. Police had targeted the address while investigating a residential break and enter on Capri Court the night before.
“A homeowner arrived and discovered that cash, jewelry and computer equipment was stolen,” said Sgt. Greg Robertson Sunday evening. “Officers received information that the stolen property was possibly at a residence in the 300 block of Portland Street.”
Patrol members were watching the property around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, while investigators obtained a search warrant. Robertson said that’s when the property owner – not knowing about the surveillance – let his dogs out.
“Two of the dogs pursued one of the police officers,” said Robertson. “The officer tried to retreat to his vehicle, but the dogs were gaining quickly on him and barking and acting in an aggressive manner.”
Robertson said the officer had “no options” but to fire at the dogs, hitting one – a “bull terrier breed” - once. The dogs fled back to the residence and the owner promptly called 911.
Another officer took the owner and dog to the emergency veterinary clinic for treatment.
Investigators carried out the search warrants soon afterwards, and Robertson said the stolen property was recovered at the address. The seven young offenders and lone adult are facing charges that include possession of stolen property over or under $5,000 and conspiracy to commit a break and enter.
He said it’s not clear what the relationship is between the accused and suspects.
“It’s believed that some of the parties may be known to one another, so that’s still something the investigators are trying to work out,” he said.
Robertson said a review is always conducted when an officer fires his or her sidearm, but the officer remains on operational duty.
The officer wasn’t hurt in the incident, and there has been no update on the condition of the dog that was hit.
“Obviously, it’s not someting any officer wants to do, to discharge his firearm at an animal,” said Robertson. “But when you fear for your safety, there’s two dogs charging you, you’ve attempted to retreat unsuccessfully and they’re gaining ground, there’s very few options. Dogs aren’t normally responsive to pepper spray and the other weaponry that officers carry.”
The eight suspects were released and will appear in provincial or youth court to face charges.