Family Dog Shot in the Head

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BENTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- One neighbor claims the dog he shot killed his chickens and then tried to attack him. The owners insist their dog would never hurt anyone.

Eric and Nicole Bankes moved to the Benton area in January so they could build their dream home in a rural area.

Their dream turned into a nightmare earlier this week when their two dogs ran outside their electronic fence. Husky-Pitbull mix Lexi and Pitbull Mercedez were nowhere to be found.

"I looked for her all day. I looked for both of them all day," Eric said.

A few hours later, Eric found Lexi here on Evans Road, which is about two miles away. At first, he thought she was hit by a car until he took her home.

"I went to cover her up so she didn't see her. When I got home I saw that she had been shot," Eric said.

Lexi was shot in between the eyes in the middle of a public road. A neighbor told the couple he heard three gunshots. Nicole spoke with another neighbor who lives about 300 feet away from where Lexi was shot.

"I looked at the man and I said did you really shoot my dog? He said yeah, yeah I did," Nicole said.

Newswatch 16 went to the man's house and he told us after the dogs killed all of his chickens and tried to attack him, yes, he killed the dog.

But the Bankes say their dogs are not like that.

"Never aggressive at all," Nicole said.

Lexi was a four-year-old Husky Pitbull mix.

"Lexi has never even growled in the four years that we've had her," Nicole said.

The couple says the dogs are friendly and would even sleep in the same room as their young daughter.

"Our two and a half-year-old dresses her up in housecoats, doll clothes and feeds her fake food," Nicole said.

State police are investigating this as a case of animal cruelty.

"How or why would anyone do this to her? She's the sweetest dog ever," Eric said.

"I understand our dogs should not have run, but things happen. I apologize 1,000 times. But to look at something so innocent and hurt it," Nicole said.

The man who told Newswatch 16 he shot the dog referred us to Pennsylvania's Dangerous Dog Law, which calls dogs dangerous if they kill domesticated pets. The dog was killed off the man's property and state police are investigating.


  • Theresa Thompson

    Get these people out of the neighborhood. They frankly sound too stupid to own dogs. Their daughter dresses them up so they would never kill a chicken?!!! Like I said, too stupid to own dogs, let alone a pit bull and a pit /husky mix! I hope he sues them for the cost of his chickens, especially if they were good layers. Oh, he should also get the price of the bullet!

  • Denise Duirway

    Pitsky strikes again just like that Celebrity housewife’s Pitsky caused her son Cash to almost lose his eye. A Pitsky is even more deadly because its DNA results in the very sharp teeth and independent nature of a Husky with the steeltrap jaw and high prey drive of a Pit bull. The Pitsky owners should be thanking the neighbor for saving their children from a horrible mauling especially when they allow their toddlers to dress them up like squishy toys. Sleeping with a power breed or allowing it on your couch is super bad training too as it teaches your dog that its leader of the pack. They are DOGS not SQUISHY TOYS and power breeds should never be around children without a muzzle. Grab a brain parents.

    PS. I am a Certified dog trainer and paralegal for victims of dog maulings for 33 years who supports Federal Breed SAFETY Laws like the US Military and 50 Countries have successfully as per NAtionalPitbullVictimAwareness org

  • William Linington

    Pit bulls. Of course they were on a killing spree. No one is surprised, except sadly deluded pit bull owners. Very sorry about the chickens, my sympathies to their owner. Glad it wasn’t a child this time out, as is often the case.

    Dr Benjamin Hart, professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and animal behaviorist, says: “It’s quite common for a pit bull to show no signs of aggression. People will call it a nice dog, a sweet dog, even the neighbors – and then all of a sudden something triggers the dog, and it attacks a human in a characteristic way of biting and hanging on until a lot of damage is done.” (Quoted in: Lee, Henry K. “Often no warning signs in pit bull attacks.” San Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 2013. [Online]

  • dammitall223

    Gee…don’t send your dogs out to kill the neighbors livestock or poultry. If you’d done your job as a dog owner, your pet would still be alive. The man didn’t come into your yard to kill your dog–he killed it on his own property after it had slaughtered all his chickens. Your own negligence killed your dog; don’t blame everybody else.

  • Richard Caldera

    I would like to know why this is being treated as an animal cruelty case. Pa Dog Law clearly states that any person may kill any dog which is pursing, wounding or killing poultry, pets, other dogs or attacking humans. It further states (section 501, para a) that “There shall be no liability on such persons in damages or otherwise for such killing.”

    As far as I’m concerned the investigation need go no further than the facts that the dogs, Pit Bulls at that, were running at large, the owners were not in control of the animals, the dogs apparently killed livestock two miles from their residence and the dog was shot between the eyes. You can only do that at extremely close range such as when the dog is attacking you.

    At the very least the dog owners are in violation of at least two or three Dog Laws, plus owe the poultry owner for any damages the dogs caused. I sincerely hope that the poultry owners insist on the dog owner being cited for their various violations.

  • Kim Neely-Smith

    It is called LEASH LAWS! Obey them! If you don’t your “precious” pets can and will be shot if on private property! Accidents happen all of the time, but with Pitbulls or a mix of Pitbull, owners need to keep EXTRA diligence in keeping them under their control! I have a Boston Terrier, he is NEVER off leash, but when I take him out to do his business on MY personal property, I will shoot ANY dog that runs up to him in an aggressive way! My dog losing an eye while I decide if they want to be friends or not is NOT an option! I HATE ignorant people who don’t obey the laws by keeping their dogs on a leash! Too frigging lazy to walk them themselves, so WHY have them? If you are Too LAZY to take them for a walk, then DON”T OWN One!!!!

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