Cop kills pit bull after attack |

Cop kills pit bull after attack

Paul Shockley
Vail, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION ” A Grand Junction police officer shot and killed a pit bull dog, one of two that allegedly charged and bit the officer Thursday morning at downtown’s Emerson Park.

The pit bulls, adult females, charged from a tent in the park at the officer. One bit the officer in his leg, the other lunged at his upper body, police said in a news release.

The officer fired two shots, striking one of the dogs.

Police spokeswoman Linda Bowman said the officer was sent to the area around 8 a.m. to handle a complaint about transients camping at the park.

Bowman declined to identify the officer involved. He was sent home after being treated at Community Hospital for puncture wounds to his leg and will return for his next scheduled shift on Monday, she said.

Bowman said she didn’t know what other protection measures were available to the officer. “Our preliminary investigation indicates the application of force was reasonable and within policy,” she said.

Bowman said the shooting will continue to be reviewed internally. The dogs’ owner, Carl Thompson, 56, was cited on six counts by Mesa County Animal Services, including two charges of owning a dangerous dog.

Police and animal services officials said it wasn’t their first encounter with Thompson’s dogs.

Charged with owning nuisance dogs, at-large on “several instances,” Thompson in a December 2006 plea agreement agreed to have his dogs spayed and neutered, kenneled, muzzled in public areas and on a leash at all times, according to the police news release.

“Those dogs included a male pit bull that was not present (Thursday) and one of the female pit bulls that was present,” police said. Thursday’s shooting was the second dog death in a month at the hands of law enforcement.

On May 29, a border collie mix was killed by a sheriff’s deputy after the dog allegedly attacked an officer during the execution of a search warrant at a local home.

In both cases, the owners had pending or recently resolved dog nuisance, or dangerous dog charges, according to Mesa County Animal Services Director Penny McCarty.

“We tend to see irresponsible owners who don’t vaccinate, keep their dogs confined and in some cases teach them to be aggressive,” McCarty said.

The surviving adult pit bull, along with 13 pit bull puppies found inside Thompson’s tent, were placed in the custody of animal services. The adult dog will be quarantined for 10 days because rabies shots couldn’t be confirmed.

Thompson will have to pay a $300 cost-of-care bond to get the dog back. If that bond isn’t paid in 10 days, state law would allow animal services to assume ownership.

Thursday’s incident rules out adoption, she said.

The dog would be “humanely euthanized.”

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