Dogs’ deaths being probed

Published 10:58 am Friday, April 16, 2010

Community Editor

Stephanie Summerville got Grizzly when she was a little girl. So, it must have seemed like a cruel joke when Stephanie, now 12, found the yellow Labrador she had grown up with floating motionless in a drainage pond behind her house April Fool’s Day.
The death of Stephanie’s dog and the death of another family’s dog in the same area off of Duck Creek Road are under investigation by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Stephanie’s father, Charlie, believes the dogs were shot by local “troublemakers,” although experts could not confirm Grizzly was fatally shot.
At the elder Summerville’s request, veterinarians with Pamlico Animal Hospital performed a partial autopsy of the dog after it was found.
“We X-rayed the whole body to see if a bullet was still lodged,” said Dr. Marty Poffenberger, a veterinarian with the hospital. “We couldn’t find a bullet. If he had been shot, it went through the other side.”
Summerville said the death of Grizzly, and his neighbor’s dog, can be traced back to a black pickup truck seen at the scene of the incident. Two of Summerville’s neighbors said they witnessed such a truck driving around the drainage pond off of Duck Creek Road, its occupants shooting guns and “carrying on” the night of March 29. Summerville said he found his neighbor’s dog the next day while he was looking for Grizzly. He and his two daughters found Grizzly floating in the pond two days later.
One of the witnesses, Clifton Fulford, said he spoke with a sheriff’s deputy last week.
“I told him what I saw and that was it,” he said.
Fulford and his family have lived in front of the drainage pond for years. He said shooting, drinking and all-around partying on the property by local young people has been occurring for as long as he can remember.
All it takes is a couple “bad apples” to ruin a good time for everyone, he said.
The property’s owner, Patrick Tetterton, has asked Fulford and fellow neighbors to call law-enforcement officers if they see anyone on the property. Tetterton also posted signs — warning that trespassers will be prosecuted — at the two entrances to his property, one off of Duck Creek Road and the other at the Weyerhaeuser property adjacent to it. Tetterton said he’s not confident the signs will deter everyone from visiting the pond. He is putting a metal gate across the Duck Creek Road entrance to the property.
“I can tell them to stay out, but I can’t control what they do,” Tetterton said. “We’ve had signs up in the past, cables, whatever. They just tear them down, so what can you do?”
He said the sheriff’s office might have to make an example of someone for the trespassing to stop.
“Until the sheriff’s office gets a hold of them and makes a statement, it’s not going to stop. It’s something that has been going on forever,” Tetterton said. “The kids all around there ain’t got nowhere else to go.”
Fulford said even this latest, and worst, incident hasn’t kept some people away from the pond.
“I’ve been warning people since Patrick put the ‘posted’ signs up. Some people tell me they’ve got permission,” he said, adding that, according to Tetterton, no one has permission to be there.
Summerville, who lives beside the pond on Camp Leach Road, said he met with a sheriff’s deputy Tuesday. He provided the deputy with pictures of Grizzly taken after the dog was recovered from the pond.
Summerville said he’s putting a $2,000 reward out for anyone with information about the shooting. He prays the reward will convince someone directly involved in the incident to come forward.
“Hopefully they will get nervous and turn on whomever shot the dogs,” he said.
He also posted a summary of the incident on, a Web site with more than 600,000 members.
“I’m definitely getting feedback from local people,” he said. “It’s done more good than anything else, so far.”
He said he’s going to such great lengths to catch the perpetrators because of his young daughters.
“They’re completely devastated about the situation,” he said.
The Summervilles have another dog, Kodiak, from the same litter as Grizzly came from. Summerville believes Kodiak was shot in a paw during the incident that resulted in Grizzly’s death.
“He’s recovering fine,” he said about Kodiak
Summerville said he brought Grizzly and Kodiak to his home to surprise his daughters when the dogs were 8 weeks old.
“They’re fully trained hunting dogs, but they’re also family,” he said.
Anyone with information about the incident should call Charlie Summerville at 923-9939 or send him an e-mail him to