Macedon family seeks justice for dog killed by code enforcement officer during investigation of her property.
MACEDON — A Macedon woman is calling for justice following the death of her dog that was shot and killed earlier this month by the town code enforcement officer, a former Macedon police officer.
To help reach that objective, Tiffany Matteson — the owner of Sniper, the deceased 9-year-old pit bull/lab mix — has retained an attorney for litigation because of the death of what she described as a gentle and friendly family pet.
In the meantime, a review of the Aug. 9 shooting by the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office yielded no charges against Ronald Hall, the code enforcement officer who pulled the handgun’s trigger.
“Based upon information I received, I see no evidence to dispute that the shooting was in self-defense,” District Attorney Rick Healy said on Tuesday.
Matteson claims that decision is a result of a lack of information that was gathered about the incident, while Macedon Police Chief John Colella counters that the necessary investigative steps were taken and the right decision was made by the prosecutor.
Matteson Tuesday shared her side of the story regarding the day of the animal’s death. She claimed that it all happened when she and her 6-year-old daughter were next door to her residence at the Arrowhead Mobile Home Park on Aug. 9.
Matteson, 29, was babysitting her neighbor’s son at the next-door home when she heard Sniper barking, causing Matteson to look out the window in the direction of her home. It is a view that she said was largely blocked by the camper she had set up on her property between the two trailers. According to Matteson, she and her family, which includes her fiancee, their two children and her 15-year-old brother, live in the camper.
“I didn’t see anything or anybody, so I figured he was just barking at the neighbor,” she said. “So I turned back to what I was doing. Then I hear ‘pop, pop,’ and I looked back out the window again and my dog is crawling under the camper.”
Following what she said were clear gunshots, Matteson said that she saw 15-year-old Lizzy Stedge, a frequent visitor in her trailer, exiting the residence while screaming.
Matteson quickly exited the trailer in time to see Sniper retreating back into her home. She added that it was there that the animal eventually died due to two gunshot wounds.
Matteson had owned Sniper for approximately a year and a half, having adopted the dog from a friend who was moving. The Macedon woman claims that Sniper has never shown aggression during her family’s time with the pet.
She confronted the shooter — asking him why he was on the property and why he had shot her dog.
“He yelled in my face, pointed a finger in my face and told me it was all my fault because it wasn’t on a lead,” Matteson said. “I told him that my dog is probably going to die and he said, ‘good.’”
Matteson clarified that she didn’t witness the shooting of her pet or what led to it. Stedge said she witnessed the incident as she exited the home in an attempt to retrieve the barking dog who she insists was not being aggressive.
However, Colella stated by email on Tuesday that the teen was questioned by officers about the shooting, which Stedge denies. The police chief said that Stedge claimed at that time to have seen nothing other than the dog running back into the house after the shooting.
According to Matteson, she found out later that the sliding glass window of her trailer was left slightly ajar, which allowed Sniper to nudge the door open and exit the home to inspect the man on the property. The dog, while barking, walked down the length of a wheelchair ramp to confront who later was determined to be Hall, she said.
The code enforcement officer made it clear to law enforcement after the incident that he had knocked at the door of the home and received no response. Sniper then appeared and charged him.
“He retreated and the dog continued to charge at him,” Colella said.
The danger led Hall to draw his gun and fire, Colella said.
“He’s a retired police officer,” the chief pointed out. “He is certified in New York state to carry a weapon and he was there on official business.”
Since the shooting, Matteson has been cited with having a dog at large due to Sniper's alleged freedom to roam without a leash. She also received two citations for harboring unlicensed dogs without proper vaccinations.
As for Hall's business at the home, Macedon Town Engineer Scott Allen clarified on Tuesday that officials were investigating a complaint from the Wayne County Child Protective Services regarding accusations of unsafe living conditions at the home.
As Allen pointed out, it was apparent in the visit of the trailer that there were some renovations there that had been pursued without the proper permits.
“The trailer will be evaluated as to whether it can be repaired or not at a future date,” Allen said.
Matteson explained that her family was largely staying in the camper while they made attempts to fix up the mobile home. She added that she has since signed the house back over to the park owners.
In the meantime, Matteson has hired a Buffalo-based attorney, Matthew Albert ,to represent her in the lawsuit she is pursuing due to Sniper's death. Albert had not returned attempts to contact him as of press time.