MATTHEWS: Thoughts on the Angie Harmon/Instacart driver dog-shooting incident

Angie Harmon attends Variety’s 2022 Power of Women: New York event at The Glasshouse in 2022. (Photo by Greg Allen / Invision/AP)

On the Monday after Easter weekend, actress Angie Harmon revealed on Instagram that one of her dogs had been shot and killed by an Instacart delivery driver.

Harmon said she’d had groceries delivered to her Charlotte home when the driver pulled out the gun and shot her “precious Oliver.”

“This Easter weekend a man delivering groceries for Instacart shot and killed our precious Oliver,” she wrote.

“He got out of his car, delivered the food and THEN shot our dog.”

Harmon said the incident wasn’t recorded because, at the time, her Ring camera was “charging in the house.” She claimed the driver somehow was aware of this and “then knew he wasn’t being recorded.”

She also claimed, “He did not have a scratch or bite on him nor were his pants torn.”

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in the aftermath that no charges would be filed because they had no evidence to disprove the story the delivery driver told of acting in self-defense.

The 911 calls that were released a few days later indicated that Harmon’s 18-year-old daughter yelled out to the driver, “You don’t kill something because they tried to bite you!”

The driver, who did not leave the scene and was present when police arrived, also called 911.

“I’m calling her, texting her, ‘Can you please come get your dog?’” he was heard telling the 911 operator after alleging that two dogs came up to him.

One of the two dogs attempted to attack the driver, according to what he said on the call.

“I tried to hurry up and get on the porch and deliver the stuff, and the dog tried to bite me,” he also said. “What am I supposed to do?”

The story brought out mixed emotions on social media, with some saying the driver had a right to act in self-defense assuming he was indeed attacked while others wondered why he didn’t stay in the car and refuse delivery until the dogs were restrained.

My thoughts on the incident were that the likelihood this driver shot and killed the dog for no reason was slim to none. We hear about incidents involving postal service workers, UPS and FedEx drivers and the like often enough to know that there have been many situations during which animals were not restrained and workers were either attacked or refused to get out of their vehicles.

I know I sometimes get messages from Amazon drivers saying we are the next stop and to please make sure animals are secured behind locked fencing or in the home (we don’t have any dogs, for the record).

There have been times when I’ve been at home and did not feel safe going outside because someone was out walking their medium to large size dog without a leash. Sometimes the dogs were running wild all over the place, including in the road where they could get hit. While I’ve been told before, “They won’t hurt anyone,” you just never know and don’t want to take the chance.

I don’t know who is ultimately telling the truth in the Harmon/Instacart driver case. But my past experiences and others I’ve heard about tell me that when a person or animal is attacked by a dog, more often than not the fault is more with the owner than the dog for not having them properly restrained. It’s a hard thing to accept/admit, but it’s true, in my opinion.

I pray Harmon and her family can find peace soon over all of this, and that the Instacart driver can as well. Equally important is that hopefully lessons were learned by not just the parties involved but for those reading the story, too, so that perhaps future tragedies like this one can be avoided.

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.