Creve Coeur couple’s dog shot; police say dog charged after officer

By Holly Eaton for Chronicle Media

On the morning of Sept. 19, Creve Coeur police and Tazewell County Animal Control were called regarding two at-large mastiffs on Virginia Avenue. The dogs, Theo and Lou, were in the driveway of the owner’s residence when Officer Nicholas Hahn arrived and fired four shots at Theo (shown sitting in this photo). (Photo courtesy of Britney Nott)

While questions remain as to whether or not Theo, a dog that was shot by police Sept. 19, is considered vicious, there’s little doubt he’s one tough dog.

While Britney Nott was in New York City, her two mastiffs escaped from her Virginia Street home and were running about her Creve Coeur neighborhood.

“We were in New York for the Yankees vs. Red Sox game Wednesday (Sept. 19), and the Yankees vs. Orioles game today,” Nolt said Friday, Sept. 21. “This was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, bucket list kind of thing.”

Nott’s 12- and 13-year-old daughters were staying with their grandmother and checking in on the mastiffs each morning before riding the bus to school from home. On Wednesday morning, one of the girls ran inside for a binder, and left without properly shutting the door.

A neighbor called police and Tazewell County Animal Control, at 7:45 a.m. to tell them the two mastiffs were running loose, and that one of them was vicious.

Officer Nicholas Hahn arrived at the residence before a TCAC employee and found Theo and Lou in the driveway.

In a statement by Creve Coeur Police Chief Dale King, Theo had been deemed “vicious” by TCAC. Hahn exited the squad car, and, when Theo  charged at him, according to Hahn, the officer shot at the dog four times.

TCAC arrived shortly after the shooting and transported Theo to Rescued Heart Animal Hospital in Pekin. One bullet exited Theo’s paw, two other grazed the dog and a bullet fragment was lodged in a muscle.

Hahn phoned Nott, who told him someone would be there within minutes to care for the dogs, but Hahn allegedly cut the call short, claiming there was “an emergency.” Not long after, Nott received another call.

“My neighbor called back, hysterical, because the officer had shot my dog,” she said. “My mom was a mile away.”

On Thursday, TCAC director Ryan Sanders said Theo was not considered “vicious,” but, instead was considered “dangerous” , a lower risk class.

In 2016, Theo attacked a woman who repeatedly knocked at the door one night when one of Nott’s daughters was the only one home.

The incident was reported to TCAC, and Theo was subsequently established as a “dangerous” dog. It would require two more incidences for the dog to be considered a higher risk.

Theo is home and recovering, but Nott is considering taking action against the police department for use of excessive force, particularly when Officer Hahn was notified that a responsible party was on their way, as well as TCAC workers.




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