HEALDTON — Healdton police were forced to shoot a pit bull after it attacked an officer Wednesday.
Healdton Police received a call from a man at 6:48 a.m. who claimed his neighbor’s pit bulls chased him to his car. The resident told police the dogs were trying to attack him.
“We’ve received several calls about these dogs in the past,” Healdton Police Chief Johnny Turner said. “We’ve just never been able to make contact with the owners.”
Capt. Jon Sumner arrived at the scene and found two pit bulls running loose, one male and one female, police body camera footage shows. And that’s when things escalated. Sumner tried to use the sound of his taser to scare the dogs back into the yard, but it only agitated the dogs.
The female dog charged Sumner and he had to kick the dog off. Sumner tried knocking on the homeowners door, but no one was home at the residence. Sumner tried again to get the dogs into the fence, but this time the dogs came at him from both sides.
With a taser in one hand and his pistol in the other, Sumner fired three shots at the male pit bull striking him twice in the mouth. Both dogs ran off.
“The bullets hitting the dog in the mouth are an indication that it was going to bite him,” Turner said.
Sumner then tried to catch the injured pit bull by tasering it, but the dog charged at Sumner again, Turner said. Animal control was later able to catch both dogs. Officers found that the female dog was pregnant. Turner attributes the aggression to trying to protect the unborn pups.
Animal control officers were able to reach the dogs’ owner, who was at work. They informed the owner that the cost of reconstructing the dogs jaw could exceed thousands of dollars, Turner said. Ultimately the owner made the choice to put the dog down.
The female dog has been impounded and remains in custody while the city’s judge and the district attorney decided if any charges will be pressed against the owners.
“We filed state charges because the dogs were very aggressive and not kept confined,” Turner said. “We like animals and didn’t want to see them hurt. It’s unfortunate that the male dog had to be shot, but I would rather him shot than hurt my officers or the neighbors.”
“(Sumner) did a good job,” Turner added. “He made every attempt to keep the end result from happening, but in the end, he did what he had to.”