Pit bull was attempting to jump fence to his yard

A Havelock was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within the city limits after shooting a neighbor’s pit bull.

Joshua Caleb Cannon, 28, of 113 Jer Mar Drive, was charged with discharging a firearm within the city limits and misdemeanor animal cruelty, Havelock Police Chief David Magnusson said.

Cannon was in his back yard with his 3-year-old child shortly after noon on Dec. 31 when a pit bull belonging to Merissa Garces, 24, of 115 Jer Mar Drive, attempted to climb over a seven to eight-foot fence dividing the yards of the two residences, Magnusson said.

“He noticed that the dog started trying to jump over the fence, hanging on the fence and pulling itself up and almost over the fence,” Magnusson said. “So, he pulled out a .40-caliber gun that he had and shot the dog once.”

Cannon then went inside and called 9-1-1, Magnusson said.

The neighbor reported to police that the dog died from the gunshot.

Magnusson said that Cannon told police that the neighbor has three vicious pit bulls that bark and growl.

“We talked to both sides and a decision was made at that point for discharging a firearm in the city limits and felony animal cruelty,” Magnusson said. “That charge was later dropped by the magistrate to misdemeanor animal cruelty.”

Magnusson said that Havelock animal control had responded one week earlier after the three pit pulls got out of the yard.

“There was nothing that would constitute at that point a vicious dog or a dangerous dog,” Magnusson said. “They did get out and there was barking but there was not fighting and no biting with the dogs or anything else. That’s the history there.”

Garces was given a written warning about keeping her dogs in her yard on the first visit by animal control, Magnusson said.

Cannon was released on a written promise to appear in court on Feb. 2 in Craven County District Court.

Police confiscated the IWI Baby Eagle .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol from Cannon for evidence.

When asked for a comment, a member of the Cannon family said an attorney had advised them against making any statements to the media.