Pit bull shot by officer

COVINGTON -- A Covington Police Department officer shot an attacking pit bull Monday afternoon that lunged at a canine officer that had performed a search for drugs during a traffic stop, according to CPD spokesman Lt. Wendell Wagstaff.

The pit bull was shot in the head and later euthanized by Newton County Animal Control.

A CPD officer stopped a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria bearing a drive-out tag at the intersection of Mill and Tate streets about 2 p.m. due to an obvious window tint violation, Wagstaff said. Inside the vehicle was a male driver, a female passenger and the pit bull.

"The officer detected a strong odor of raw marijuana emitting from the vehicle and asked the driver to step to the rear of the vehicle. He also detected the odor of marijuana emitting from the man's person," Wagstaff said.

Two bags of suspected marijuana were discovered in the man's pocket and he then admitted to be in possession of marijuana, Wagstaff said. Also discovered in the man's pocket was a pair of digital scales.

During the search, the female passenger in the vehicle was handed $4,536 in cash by the suspect. Officers asked her to exit the vehicle and told her she needed to give that cash back to the suspect as it was considered evidence. She did so and officers also discovered two plastic bags on her that were similar to the bags containing the marijuana. She was told by the officer to get back in the vehicle and close the door. She got back in the car, but did not close the door, according to a report of the incident.

While the CPD officer who made the stop was dealing with the suspect, the K-9 Unit officer brought his canine Obi to do a free air search of the vehicle. After Obi had alerted on the vehicle and the K-9 officer had reported the alert to the arresting officer, he took Obi over to the side of the roadway. At that time, he said he noticed the pit bull looking out the rear window of the Crown Victoria at Obi, Wagstaff said.

The K-9 officer yelled for the woman to hold the dog, but she failed to comply. The pit bull jumped over the back seat into the front seat where the woman was seated and the officer again shouted for her to hold the dog, but she did not, the report states.

The dog then jumped out of the door, lunging at Obi. When he had reached a distance of about 3 feet from the CPD canine, Obi's handler shot the pit bull.

"We take very seriously any threat to one of our canine officers," Wagstaff said. "We won't let them get hurt. The dog was about to try to kill Obi. We have a lot of money invested in our dogs and the officer felt he had to stop the threat, and he did. It was unfortunate the dog had to be shot, but obviously because of (the woman's) actions of not holding the dog as the officer had instructed, the dog made the aggressive move and that's why we had to do what we did."

Martec Anquian Barkley, 18, of 8176 Geiger St., was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance near a school (Sharp Learning Center), window tint violation and driving with the wrong class of license.

Also, Charlinta Naesha Jeff, 18, of 2715 Newborn Road, Mansfield was arrested and charged with misdemeanor obstruction of a law enforcement officer.