Pit bull owner: ‘That dog was antagonizing them’

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — An officer responding to a dog attack on Titus Lane Tuesday night was forced to shoot and kill the two aggressive dogs after they turned on him, according to Warwick police.

The incident began around 6 p.m. Tuesday when police said one dog escaped from its owner’s yard and attacked a man, identified as 57-year-old Robert Joyal, who was out walking his dog. A second dog then got involved.

According to Wednesday’s news release, the dogs – described by police as pit bulls – were still attacking the man and his smaller dog when Officer Zaborski arrived on scene. When Zaborski approached, police said both dogs went after him. Zaborski stunned one of the attacking canines with his Taser, but he had no time to subdue the other aggressive dog using non-lethal means. Fearing himself or bystanders could get hurt, police said the Zaborski killed the second dog with two shots from his service weapon.

The owner of both dogs told Eyewitness News their names were Buddy and Bella. Buddy was a six-year-old Full-Blooded Texas Red Nose Pit Bull. Bella was a seven-year-old half Pit Bull, half Terrier.

“Everyone loved them and they loved everyone. They weren’t mean dogs,” Amanda Hallock, the sister of the owner, said.

The dog’s owner said Bella got out on Tuesday night, and when a neighbor went to put her back in their yard, the gate didn’t close. Still, Hallock said the smaller dog provoked the pit bulls on Tuesday night. “That dog was antagonizing them and it was just an accident.”

She said the smaller dog had often wandered on her sister’s property, and that her sister had talked to the owner about it several times.

Police said in a news release Wednesday that their initial investigation determined Officer John Zaborski’s actions “were lawful and necessary to protect the lives of citizens and him[self] from serious bodily injury.”