North Dakota Man Arrested After Using Gun To Defend Himself Against Pit Bulls

vcpng

I’ve had several readers email me about a case in Valley City where a man is suing to get his firearms back after they were confiscated by police. The man had used them to shoot at two pit bulls that were attacking himself and his girlfriend at their home.

From the Valley City Times-Record on August 19th:

Preston and his girlfriend were in Preston’s yard enjoying a fire when the dogs wandered in. “Two pit bulls came by started barking a little bit. My dog started barking a little bit telling them to go away,” said Preston. The couple was able to shoo them away he said. “Then our neighbor comes over and said ‘those pit bulls just attacked our dog.’” said Preston. “Just in case, I went in and got our handguns.”

When the dogs returned, after Preston had been asleep for a while. He heard his girlfriend shouting and hitting a stick around; the dogs left again, he said. Thinking they were safe, Preston went to his boat to get a sleeping bag when he saw the dogs again, ears up and tails up, they were barking and growling. He jumped into the boat with the dogs right on his heels.

“I looked around for help, couldn’t see anybody to help,” Preston said, then he looked around for a phone. Finding none, he called out to his girlfriend, “Gun, gun, gun!” he said. She replied she couldn’t because she had the couple’s dogs.

Once again, the dogs retreated, Preston said, so he decided it would be a good time to get everyone (the couple and their dogs) and drive to the police station.

“I went back and I grabbed a gun from my girlfriend and all of a sudden I heard her holler, ‘get away! I turned around and the pit bull was pistol distance away. I chose to fire because they were showing teeth, growled, barked and everything else. That was a sign for me. It was either me and my girlfriend or the dogs, I chose to fire at that time,” said Preston.

According to Preston, when the police showed up he turned over both his gun and his girlfriend’s gun. He admitted to shooting the dog in self defense, but refused to allow officers to search his home. The officers then confiscated the guns and sought charges against Preston by way of the local state’s attorney.

Yesterday my good friend Jay Thomas at WDAY in Fargo interviewed Preston who, at the time, hadn’t been charged with any crimes but still hadn’t gotten his guns back (the incident with the dogs occurred in July). Preston has been pursuing a lawsuit against the city to get back his guns.

According to a WDAY television report, Valley City Police Chief Fred Thompson is arguing that the guns were seized for the purposes of investigation and won’t be returned until the investigation is concluded.

Last night, after the interview on the Jay Thomas Show, Preston was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct. He is currently out on bond.

Today at 2:10pm state Rep. Dwight Kiefert (R-Valley City) will be on the Jay Thomas Show today at 2:10pm to discuss the issue. Kiefert is not pleased with law enforcement’s handling of the situation.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • zipity

    Our over-militarized police departments need to be neutered.
    Or this will only get worse.

  • whowon

    arguing that the guns were seized for the purposes of investigation and won’t be returned until the investigation is concluded….what, interviewing pitbulls? Both the neighbor who had problems and these 2 should have called the local police or sheriff but no way they should have been able to search his house.

    • SusanBeehler

      Maybe they appeared under the influence.

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    The guy did the right thing refusing to allow the police to ransack his home over what happened outside.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

    • NDJimmy

      The professor and the cop linked above is one of the best things on Youtube. It’s about 50 minutes. Watch it and don’t talk to the cops.

      • ec99

        I’ve watched it several times. Best thing to respond when a cop asks “Do you know how fast you were going?” is “Yes.”

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          “Can I search your car?”

          No I do not consent to searches.

          Another question to ask is “Am I being detained” and if so “what is the probable cause?”

  • Roy_Bean

    Somehow this doesn’t seem surprising in Earl Pomeroy’s home town. It might be time for another initiated measure.

  • headward

    Wouldn’t this be considered theft of property? What evidence do they need off those guns? Why aren’t the police trying to locate and arrest the owners of those dogs? The dogs were not on leashes, harassing, and were presenting a public danger.
    I hope the police change their motto from Serve & Protect to Disarm & Steal.

  • borborygmi45

    I wonder if there is “the rest of the story” I would think the investigation shouldn’t take that long, he didn’t have to let them in the house. Standard operating Procedure for the Police to ask what you have inside the house when everything happened outside?

  • WOOF

    He speaks dog?
    “My dog started barking a little bit telling them to go away,”
    said Preston.

    Premeditated dogicide

    • devilschild

      The dog committed dogicide. He had the option to retreat at anytime.

      • henrycat

        The dog apparently was using the “Stand Your Ground” defense…..Al, Jesse and, especially…… the ASPCA should be all over this one……

        If I had another dog…… he would look just like mine….

        • devilschild

          That’ll be the day that I cower to anybody.

      • borborygmi45

        He is lucky the dog was packing.

  • bman

    Come on Rob, cut the Valley City police department some slack. Just think of all of the murders, drug rings, gangs ect. they have to investigate. I am sure that they will get to it very soon. They are busy. Geeez.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Not to mention tracking down that Nigerian Doctor that is trying to scam everyone.

  • Thresherman

    To what purpose were the guns needed for the investigation? Was there some doubt who fired the shot after Preston admitted to doing so? I suppose the answer to that is “Shut up. We’re the Police.”

    • WOOF

      Dead dogs wag no tales.
      Book’em Dano.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    I know the guns are being entered into evidence, but, in a case like this, I would think that time is now past.

    I think it is very odd that the police wanted to search his house, and wonder if this isn’t retaliation for his refusal.

    • borborygmi45

      It seems like retaliation. I wonder if there is a history between this gentlemen and the police

  • Zog

    This incident sounds as though the Canadian border has been moved south.

  • ec99

    What’s the response time of the VC police? In Grand Forks they’ll show up if they aren’t busy writing traffic tickets.

  • toocoolforskeul

    NEVER talk to the police until you get a lawyer. Especially when a gun or self defense is involved.

  • RCND

    Seems to me they had no grounds to confiscate anything if he was not being charged at that time

    • Thresherman

      Maybe once the story went public they had to file charges to justify seizing the guns. I get the feeling that the law was played fast and loose here.

      • RCND

        That generally is what too many do in this state. Just wait til they ALL get drones

  • Charlie

    “The police acted stupidly.” Wait, that line has already been used.

    On a related note, it’s good to know the former actor, senator, and presidential candidate is wielding the iron fist of the law in Valley City. And he still finds time to pitch reverse mortgages.

  • sbark

    were the dogs named Travon and Martin?………there were just roaming around the neighborhood, If I had dogs……

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      LOL.

      I imagine they looked just like you.

      • sbark

        Hey hey…my English setters and Labs are good lookers……

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    From the same police force that sent a SWAT team to a bogus domestic dispute backed up by a second SWAT team from Jamestown, cordoning off a major residential street for four hours …

  • fredlave

    The police need a supportive citizenry to be effective. Behaving with a lack of common sense and common courtesy is not in their best interest as peace officers.

    • Wayne

      …or in the best interest of the citizenry.

      • ec99

        One problem is that, over time, cops begin to consider every citizen a potential criminal. It’s the cynicism that goes with the job. Another characteristic is an us against them mindset.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Obama would of eaten the evidence

  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    So, rube, to be clear, this guy was “Arrested After Using Gun”, but it wasn’t when the police showed up at the scenes, it was when he apparently made an ass of himself after a radio interview.

    Last night, after the interview on the Jay Thomas Show, Preston was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct.

    Chief Fred Thompson – Valley City Police Department: “If we respond to
    an incident where there has been a gun fired – any type of incident – we
    would typically impound all the weapons that were there as part of the
    evidentiary finding process. Because, you don’t know which guns actually
    fired the rounds – if any.”

    http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/85742/

    Darn those State and Locals for following procedure. Who makes up these procedures, State and Locals?

    “I went back and I grabbed a gun from my girlfriend and all of a sudden I
    heard her holler, ‘get away! I turned around and the pit bull was pistol
    distance away.

    Preston said he fired several times; he believes four times and the
    police report stated five to seven times, and hit one of the dogs in the
    leg. It’s still unknown whether he hit the other dog.

    Maybe 7 shots and he might have only got one to stick? Gotta wonder what this guy thinks “pistol distance” is and if it’s more that a few feet, it certainly casts doubt on the imminent threat scenario he’s putting out there. At the very least, he needs to take a shooting class.

    “Arrested After Using Gun” indeed.

    • devilschild

      I agree. He is a lousy shot. “He believes four times….” A responsible gun owner would know exactly how many bullets they had in their weapon before firing and be able to subtract accordingly.

      • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

        From what I read almost nobody can keep track of the number of shots they’ve fired under stress.

        Also cops miss most of the time.

        • devilschild

          I always know how many bullets I have in my weapon before firing it. All I would have to do is count how many bullets I have left to know how many bullets I fired. It is very simple math. 10 – 4 = 6

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I don’t know where you learned firearms safety, but I was taught never to assume to know how many bullets are in a gun.

            I think you need another training class.

          • devilschild

            I never leave a weapon loaded. I learned that in firearms safety class. But you got a bug up your butt so you’re going to point out any little petty thing you can in my comments.

          • two_amber_lamps

            Then the weapon you own is NOT a self-defense weapon. A weapon intended to defend yourself from a sociopathic armed assailant must be ready at a moments notice… you will most likely not have time to load it. If you carry under a concealed permit you will have enough difficulty getting the weapon out of your pocket, out from under your shirt, out of your purse, etc. There will be no time to extract a magazine, insert it, charge/chamber a round, and remember to thumb a safety.

            Your class taught you how to properly store a firearm, nothing more.

          • PK

            What are you talking about? It’s not that hard to know how many rounds are in your weapon “before firing it”, and you always treat guns as if they’re loaded, so your snide comment makes no sense. If you think you have 3 rounds in the weapon, and fire 3, you never assume it’s empty before checking, but there’s nothing unsafe about knowing you have 3 rounds loaded. But look at who i’m talking to. The guy who thinks a trigger on a shotgun is directly under the bolt and not at the rear of the receiver. (Uh oh, i brought it up again, i’ll wait for your weird comment about Alex Jones to deflect from my comment). You should stick to your number crunching of state finances and stop acting like you know something about firearms and firearms safety. Chances are the ammo shortage hasn’t affected you a bit.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            What are you talking about? It’s not that hard to know how many rounds are in your weapon “before firing it”, and you always treat guns as if they’re loaded, so your snide comment makes no sense. If you think you have 3 rounds in the weapon, and fire 3, you never assume it’s empty before checking, but there’s nothing unsafe about knowing you have 3 rounds loaded.

            Who said it was unsafe to know how many rounds are in the gun? I know it’s easier for you to respond to things if you just make up things you think I said and then attack those things, but I never said that.

            What I did say is that it’s proper firearm safety technique to never assume a gun is unloaded or out of rounds. From that perspective, it would make sense for a trained gun owner not to assume to know how many rounds he fired.

            The guy did nothing wrong in being uncertain how often he fired, whatever pretend gun experts like you may think.

          • PK

            Get real man, i’m sick of your stupid games. DC said,
            “A responsible gun owner would know exactly how many bullets they had in
            their weapon before firing and be able to subtract accordingly.”

            Then you attacked DC with a condescending comment about how it’s unsafe to assume you know how many bullets are in a gun. You never said anything about assuming it’s unloaded or out of rounds. I actually said that. I wasn’t even talking about the guy in the story, just defending DC about how it’s pretty easy to know how many rounds are in your weapon, and how to subtract after firing. Get a life.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I’m not playing any games. I’m just explaining, logically, that gun owners are trained not to make assumptions about the number of rounds left in their guns.

            Maybe you didn’t know that, despite carrying on as a self-appointed expert on firearms.

            Anyway, it’s not unreasonable for this guy not to want to make assumptions about how many rounds he fired. An easy thing to forget, especially in the heat of the moment.

          • PK

            “I’m just explaining, logically, that gun owners are trained not to make
            assumptions about the number of rounds left in their guns.”

            I was the one who explained that, NOT YOU. You attacked DC for saying it’s easy to figure out how many rounds were fired, AFTER the shooting, by knowing how many rounds were loaded, then counting the bullets left and subtracting. Maybe you misunderstood what DC was saying, but regardless, you’re carrying on about how you’re right and how i don’t know what i’m talking about. I’m done playing your game. I was just defending someone from your attacks, and didn’t instigate anything, so don’t try to flip it around on me like you always do. Maybe re-read the exchange and figure out how big of an ass you’ve become.

          • Thresherman

            Were are not talking about taking a few potshots here, this man was in reasonable fear of bodily harm and that changes things.

            Professional police departments, when officers are involved in a shooting never rely on the officer’s shot count as they know that is affected by stress. What the do is secure the area and collect all spent casings and try to locate all bullet strikes. Further, they then try to determine relationships between recovered cartridges and bullet strikes.

            Now lets compare that to V C Police Chief Barney Fife. A month later, by his own admission, he does not know if one or both guns were fired or how many times or even if the dog is a was a pit bull. This begs the question of what just has he done to determine the answers to these questions? It also demands that he be asked what has he done to protect the chain of evidence? What is he going to answer when an attorney asks him in a deposition about how many casings did he collect, what caliber were they and when were they fired? What is he going answer when that attorney asks him how many weeks does it take to determine the breed of a dead dog and did they even bother to send the dog for identification?

            Those are just the opening questions, when V C Police Chief Barney Fife starts having to answer, that is going to lead to more questions and in the end he is going to have to admit that incompetence is not a defense.

            The only thing V C Police Chief Barney fife has going for him is to use his power to make life so uncomfortable for Preston that these embarrassing questions never get asked. Now does that sound more like a guy who thinks he is a public servant or a public master?

          • two_amber_lamps

            Most law enforcement agencies require their personnel to load the max number of rounds into the magazine AND have one in the chamber. Besides giving them the maximum number of rounds to throw downrange before reloading, it also facilitates investigators in determining how many rounds were fired.

          • two_amber_lamps

            You may THINK you can count bullets in the meat-grinder that is human-to-human armed conflict, but most likely you’ll lose track. Without extensive training you’ll probably stare dumbly at the firearm when the slide/bolt locks to the rear on an empty magazine unless you’re well drilled in combat reloading… that is assuming you remembered to bring an extra magazine. Assuming you didn’t, your weapon just became a very dull tomahawk.

        • two_amber_lamps

          You revert to the lowest level of training… if you slam the trigger under normal conditions, you’ll do so under duress… very often shooters under life or death stress won’t even reference sights.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The post is entirely accurate, Boob.

      • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

        Of course it is, rube. Of course it is.

        North Dakota Man Arrested After Using Gun To Defend Himself Against Pit Bulls

        Last night, after the interview on the Jay Thomas Show, Preston was
        arrested for alleged disorderly conduct. He is currently out on bond.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          The alleged “disorderly conduct” stems from his objection to having his guns seized and held by law enforcement for no good reason.

          So yeah, accurate, though not convenient for your narrative.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            OK, well rube, admitting that this guy was not arrested for shooting a dog is a good start. I guess you’ll be amending your headline now.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            It would also be accurate to say he was arrested after the sun came up.

            Your headline is misleading. It makes it sound as if he was arrested for shooting the dogs. Not days later.

    • two_amber_lamps

      Dumbass…. a human being with a knife is considered an imminent threat when within 21-27 ft. because of the time it takes for them to close to a distance to employ their weapon. A ferocious dog can do so even faster.

      Maybe you’ve shot paper? Or a deer? Try doing it when it it’s coming straight at you. You’ll flinch, slam the trigger and miss a bunch. GUARANTEED.

      Chrissakes, you have no idea what you’re babbling about…. AGAIN. Why don’t you STFU instead of announcing to the world how stupid you are on this topic?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Just so we’re clear, you think it’s ok for someone to be arrested for questioning in the media, and through the court system, whether the seizure of his guns was lawful?

      Because that’s how I think this arrest came about. This guy questioned authority, and he’s being punished for it.

      • Matthew Hawkins

        You pretend your a journalist when you complain about not getting interviews.

        Why don’t you pretend you are a journalist now and get the arrest report.

        My guess is this guy is a hothead who went to the police and caused problems.

  • Gern Blanston

    Disorderly conduct for firing the gun? Or something unrelated that occurred at a different time?

    • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

      “Arrested After Using Gun”

      Last night, after the interview on the Jay Thomas Show, Preston was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct.

      Our host is quite the salesman, no?

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        He was bailed out by State Rep. Dwight Keifert who, rightfully, is calling local law enforcement on the carpet for their regrettable targeting of a gun owner.

        • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

          Chief Fred Thompson – Valley City Police Department: “If we respond to
          an incident where there has been a gun fired – any type of incident – we
          would typically impound all the weapons that were there as part of the
          evidentiary finding process.

          • LenYol

            “….evidentiary finding process.”

            Hey bobble, where’s all that stimulus money and all the jobs it was supposed to create?

        • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

          Do you think Mr. Preston’s conviction on gun related charges from last year will play into his trial on gun related charges this year?

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            If there are such charges, I’m not aware of them. They don’t show up in North Dakota’s criminal history database – I checked – and he is a current CCW license holder, something he wouldn’t be if any such charges were upheld.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            Someone’s got something.

            Preston was convicted of disorderly conduct involving a firearm in Minot in May of 2012. He will make his initial court appearance in
            Valley City August 27th.

            http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/85846/

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            WDAY needs to do a correction.

            That case was dismissed.

            http://publicsearch.ndcourts.gov/CaseDetail.aspx?CaseID=2366356

            But the WDAY story is right about one thing. He was absolutely arrested for the discharge of his firearm. The post is accurate.

            You can apologize for being inaccurate any time now.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            He copped a plea deal. He plead guilty to disorderly conduct and the original charge of carrying a concealed weapon was dismissed.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            I guess there are two sides to every story, huh rube?

            Witnesses and the veterinarian who treated the injured dog all claim the
            dog was very gentle, said Myhre who pointed out that North Dakota is
            not a “Stand Your Ground” state.

            http://www.times-online.com/content/man-suing-vc-25000

          • NDJimmy

            Yeah, Myhre, the VC attorney notes that ND is not a “Stand Your Ground” state. Implying what, exactly? First off, ND’s “Duty to Retreat” is thankfully pretty weak, with allowances for juries to consider circumstances, and there is no duty to retreat if retreating would increase the danger. Second, is the city attorney implying that anyone, ever, has a duty to retreat from an animal? If a pit bull attacks me, anywhere in ND, he better hope I happen to have my “less lethal” along, or it will get 9mm until it stops moving. Third, this dude was in his own yard. Castle Doctrine, anyone? This is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard an attorney say lately.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            Rob

            The alleged “disorderly conduct” stems from his objection to having his guns seized and held by law enforcement for no good reason.

            Rob

            He was absolutely arrested for the discharge of his firearm.

            What’s it gonna be, rube?

  • SusanBeehler

    Maybe there is more to this story. Do he have prior arrests or other incidents under investigation? Why didn’t he call the sheriff or police or animal control? Who owned the dogs, were they fined or penalized for having dogs running at large?

    • two_amber_lamps

      The shrew speaketh!

      • Matthew Hawkins

        It is cool that you are able to recognize yourself as a shrew. However, I think you are being too easy on yourself.

        • two_amber_lamps

          Aw, wazzamatter Matty-o… you don’t give Suzy “Mad Dog” enough credit to defend herself?

          Misogynist.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            Have you ever had anything interesting or relevant to say? All you ever seem to do is insult.
            Why don’t you try to occasionally add something to the conversation?

          • two_amber_lamps

            Profundities are lost in your yawning leftist chasm of idiocy.

            Why do you hate women Matt?

  • Matthew Hawkins

    Are we just taking his word for what happened?
    Sounds to me that he may have just shot some dogs and made up a story. In my experience dogs are pretty consistent in how they act. This doesn’t sound like normal dog behavior.

  • 2hotel9

    ” In my experience dogs are pretty consistent in how they act. This doesn’t sound like normal dog behavior.” Exactly. Dogs behaving in an atypical manner are usually sick/injured and not to be trifled with. Or should he have waited till his spouse, child or dog was bitten, gone to the doctor/vet and gone through rabies treatment, instead? Err on the side of caution. A dog runs up and starts acting strangely/aggressively? Shoot it.

    • two_amber_lamps

      Now, now 2…. you know these lefties… you’re supposed to ask the dog how his day was, maybe ask him if he’d like a nice bowl of water and tell you what’s troubling him? Rabid, ferocious dogs are entitled to feelings too and if we’d all just pause for a moment, walk a mile in his paws…. well maybe we can have ourselves a nice kum-bai-yah moment….

      Meanwhile someone’s daughter’s in the ICU and a wife gets to go thru the rabies shot series….

      Libtards always can arm-chair QB a conflict, they have all the answers. Just ask ‘em.

    • Matthew Hawkins

      My point is he is probably lying.

      He shoots a dog, maybe just because he is scared of pit bulls, but his story doesn’t make since.

      • 2hotel9

        I see from your other comments that you are simply another stupid leftard(sorry to be redundantly repetitive, there) and just toddle in to spew whatever crap bubbles to the top of your pointed head.

        Perhaps you could post for us all your proof that he is lying. We will be waiting, with bated breath, for all your proof, sweety.

  • Lane Mclean

    The dumb idiot should have never turned his guns over to the cops. His next course of action should be to buy a new gun since the cops has his guns. If the cops had demanded to me that I had to turn my guns over to them, I would let them know that the only way that they get my guns is off of my cold, dead body.

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