A man arrested on suspicion of drug charges and child endangerment said he is concerned with the actions of police who shot two dogs they described as “aggressive” while serving a drug-related search warrant at his home earlier this month in southwest Columbia.
Police arrested Jonathan E. Whitworth, 25, of 1501 Kinloch Court on Feb. 11 on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and second-degree child endangerment. A police SWAT team entered Whitworth’s residence around 8:30 p.m. suspecting a large amount of marijuana at the location, police spokeswoman Officer Jessie Haden said. SWAT members encountered a pit bull upon entry, held back and then fatally shot the dog, which officers said was acting in an uncontrollably aggressive manner.
Whitworth was arrested, and his wife and 7-year-old son were present during the SWAT raid, Haden said. A second dog, which Whitworth’s attorney Jeff Hilbrenner described as a corgi, also was shot but was not killed.
“The family is concerned with what happened,” Hilbrenner said. “We don’t feel like what happened in the home was appropriate. The priority right now for us is the misdemeanor charges.”
Police discovered a grinder, a pipe and a small amount of marijuana, Haden said. Because the SWAT team acts on the most updated information available, the team wanted to enter the house before marijuana believed to be at the location could be distributed, she said.
“If you let too much time go by, then the drugs are not there,” she said.
Drug distributors traditionally have a history with firearms, which is why the SWAT team is used when executing such warrants, Haden said. If the SWAT team believed they could have executed the warrant successfully during the daytime when the wife and child were not present, they would have, she said.