03-27-09 Dog Charges Officer During Loud Party Investigation
UPDATE: Dog Charges Officer during Loud Party Investigation
March 30, 2009 - Witnesses say the dog who charged at a Boise Police Officer investigating a loud party complaint, had run at the officer from an open door approx. 10 - 15 feet away from the officer. The officer says he fired at the dog when it was nearly on him. The shot stopped the dog from running at the officer and the dog turned and ran.
Witnesses to the incident Friday night used the words "charged" and "ran at" to describe the dog's actions toward the officer when they were interviewed by investigators.
"This was an unfortunate situation, but it's definitely an issue of safety for the officer." said Lt. Doug Doney of the Boise Police Department. "No officer wants to shoot an animal, but in this case it was the only option the Officer had at the time to protect himself. Officers are allowed to protect themselves from being injured while performing their duties."
According to witness statements, the 65-pound dog came through an open door as two officers stood in the front yard of a home. The officers were at the home serving a citation for Disturbing the Peace. One officer was speaking to a group of three people, two men and a woman, as a second officer stood several feet away acting as a safety back up.
According to the three witnesses and the two officers, the door to the home was open and the dog, on it's own, came out the front door and began running at the officer standing by himself. The officer says the dog was showing it's teeth, snarling, and charging in a manner he felt was very aggressive and threatening. The officer says, because the dog was already so close, he only had time to take two steps back, reach for his weapon, and fire.
The officer was in full uniform and not undercover, as has been reported by some media.
The witnesses did not include the dog's owner.
""We feel for the owners loss of the animal, but the officer definitely saw this dog as a threat." said Lt. Doney. "An aggressive dog posses a unique set of threats to a person. If you have ever been chased by a dog or, heaven forbid attacked by one, you can imagine what that's like." said Lt. Doney. "This incident happened very, very quickly, literally in a few seconds." said Lt. Doney.
"Although tazers and other means have been used on dogs, it's very difficult because dogs are smaller and faster and you can't count on the taser stopping the dog." said Lt. Doney. "Owners must be responsible for controlling their dogs."
Why Officers were at the Home: Officers were at the home after neighbors complained of a loud party, including yelling, glass bottles breaking, loud music, and what neighbors described as sounds of dog's fighting coming from the residence on the 500 blk. of So. 15th Street. A neighbor had signed a Disturbing the Peace citation, which is a misdemeanor violation. The officers were at the home to serve the citation. The first officer was speaking to three party-goers in the yard when the incident occurred.
Follow Up Investigation: As with any type of force by an officer, lethal or non-lethal, the officer's actions will be reviewed to assure they fall within Boise Police policy and training."
"We all can get emotional when it comes to animals and pets, but we do hope people see the facts of this incident as well, that in an instant this dog became very threatening." said Lt. Doney.