That’s a photo sent to WSB by a man who lives in the Westwood neighborhood where police shot two dogs, described as pit bulls, night before last. (Original WSB report here.) The neighbor believes those are the same dogs – even if not, he says there’s a dog problem — irresponsible owner problem, maybe more like it — in his neighborhood: “I have called Animal Control AND Police on these dogs NUMEROUS times. I have photos attached of the dogs hunting/stalking during the day right in a neighborhood where children play outside all day and walk to and from school. … I have many, many photos of these and other loose dogs stalking my neighborhood day and night.” On the night of the police/dogs confrontation, we heard scanner traffic indicating a history of previous trouble with the dogs that police shot. Now we’ve seen the full police writeup of what happened Tuesday night, and thought you might be interested in additional details:
The report says the first 911 call reported “two loose and roaming pit bulls” that attacked a man walking by with his leashed dog. That was the main victim, a 63-year-old man walking with his Chihuahua; the man was taken to the hospital with bites to his hand and arm, and chest pain — his wife told us at the scene that night that he has heart trouble; the police report says he gave himself nitroglycerin before medics arrived.
As one commenter mentioned after our original report, the same dogs reportedly had attacked or tried to attack others in the neighborhood earlier that evening; one witness told police the same story our commenter told, about fighting them off with an umbrella. The police report featured many individual witness statements, including one from a woman who said the dogs had tried to “jump through (her) window” earlier in the evening. Several of the witnesses talked about previous encounters with the dogs, including one who told police, “These dogs are always roaming and off-leash. We’ve called animal control seven or eight times about this. They are extremely aggressive. I’m afraid to let my 3-year-old son outside … because he wouldn’t have a chance against those dogs.”
When the first police officer arrived, the dogs were found in the front yard of their house in the 8800 block of 24th. The officer at first stayed in his car to assess the situation and whether there was danger. However, he said he had to get out when he saw the dogs charge a neighbor. Then, the officer said, the dogs started charging him: “The dogs got within 10 to 12 feet of me before I fired approximately 5 or 6 shots at them. I hit the large male dog with the first or second shot and heard him yelp. They both continued to advance and I fired several more rounds. … There is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn’t used deadly force against them, I would have been attacked and possibly severely injured, or even killed by the two dogs.”
As reported that night, the male dog was killed, the female injured (and taken away by Animal Control). The original victim’s dog was to be taken to a vet, and we haven’t heard yet how it’s doing. There is one more passage from the police report worth noting; the dogs’ owner showed up eventually, walking toward the house, and said, before officers asked him anything, “Is it my dogs? Oh my God, they must have pushed open the door.” The officer went on to note in the report that the owner asked about the condition of his dogs several times, but never once asked about the condition of the people who they had attacked.
As for whether the owner faces any sort of citations or liability, we’ll be checking and will let you know.