Officers who were out in Port Richmond early Friday to serve a warrant on a man who failed to show up for a court hearing ended up shooting and wounding one of the fugitive's pit bulls after he fled in his underwear, authorities said.

Sgt. Thomas Walsh, of the East Detective Division, said police were at a house on the 3000 block of Weikel Street about 5:30 a.m. to serve an absconder warrant on Matthew Harvey, 23. There were three pit bulls at the house, Walsh said.

One of the dogs charged at an officer in the house, prompting the officer to fire his weapon and fire three times at the dog, said Officer Christine O'Brien, a police spokeswoman.

Philadelphia Police Capt. Nicholas Brown told NBC10 that the suspect had fled the house, leaving a back door open, which allowed the dogs to come inside. The suspect ran down Clearfield Street in only his underwear, the captain said.

"Just his boxers," Brown said.

Court records show that Harvey had been arrested in May 2014 on drug charges. He had pleaded guilty in August of that year before Common Pleas Judge Rayford Means and was sentenced under a plea deal to three years' probation.

He later faced violation-of-probation hearings before the judge, and most recently, on Feb. 29 of this year, failed to appear in court. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Police were still searching for Harvey as of midmorning Friday.

The three dogs were taken to the Animal Care and Control Team shelter on Hunting Park Avenue in Feltonville. Tara Schernecke, director of field services for ACCT Philly, said the injured female dog, who appeared to be shot once in the leg, is alert and responsive, seems to be doing well and is under the care of a veterinarian.

shawj@phillynews.com

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