Nashua police rapped for killing pit bull attacking man on city street
By BARBARA TAORMINA Union Leader Correspondent
Two days after Nashua police shot and killed a pit bull to stop the dog from biting a man, neighbors on Chestnut Street are still talking about the incident and asking why police didn't try harder to separate the dog and the victim.
Some residents worried that police were beginning a crack down on pit bulls, a popular breed among Chestnut Street residents who value the dogs for their loyal and protective natures.
However, Nashua Police Capt. Bruce Hansen said the shooting was an isolated incident and had nothing to do with the fact that the dog was a pit bull.
"People, regardless of the dog breed, have to control the dog," he said
Nashua resident Tina Bennett did have the brown and white pit bull that belongs to her brother, Michael, leashed and under control Wednesday morning around 11 a.m., when she left her home for a walk.
Soon after leaving her home, Bennett spotted John Goba, 54, a well-known face in the neighborhood, walking toward her. Bennett said Goba has a history of taunting the dog, which is sometimes kept leashed in the family's gated yard and Bennett asked him to stay away.
"He doesn't have any responsibility to do that," said Hansen. "And she should have given him a wide berth."
Goba ignored Bennett's request and moved very close to the pit bull.
As he was passing by, the dog turned and bit the back of Goba's leg and refused to let go.
Two Nashua bicycle patrol officers who were nearby on the city bike trail heard Goba screaming and quickly returned to Chestnut Street. They found Goba and the dog on the ground with Bennett, who was trying to separate them.
According to the police report, one of the officers grabbed the dog's leash and tried to pull him away from Goba. However, neighbors said they did not see the officer attempt to pull the dog off.
Neighbors said the officer took out a gun almost immediately and fired one shot at the dog, which died a few moments later. According to some residents, children playing in the area were upset by the shooting and the sight of the dog's lifeless body.
However, a woman who lives in the house that borders the bike trail said she didn't see any children in the area during the attack.
Several people asked police why they shot so quickly, and why they didn't first try to stun the animal with a taser.
"I think you would have to ask Mr. Goba if he feels the police acted too quickly," said Hansen, who added the patrol officers feared he was being seriously injured by the dog.
Goba was treated at the scene by an ambulance crew but did not go to the hospital.
"The bite was about as big as a softball," said Hansen. "It was nasty."
According to neighbors who saw him later in the day, Goba said he was feeling fine.
The dog's own, Michael Bennett was out of town when the attack occurred. His cousin said he was distraught when he heard the news.
However, she also said Bennett has been trying to breed his male dog with a neighbor's female pit bull.
"He hopes it worked and that he'll be getting a puppy soon," she said.