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Officer who shot dog followed protocol, officials say

Published: Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 6:17 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 7:08 PM

A Dayton police officer followed protocol when he shot a St. Bernard while investigating an aggressive dog complaint Monday evening, officials said Tuesday.

Officer Devin Portis was trying to contain the dog in the 700 block of Edgemont Avenue so that it could be transported to the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center. But it "turned on him," and charged Portis, said Dayton police Lt. Matthew Dickey.

"(Portis) tried to back up and he fell over and then pulled his gun and fired," Dickey said. "It was pretty straight forward."

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The case is still under investigation. The dog was injured by the shot, and released into the custody of the animal resource center to be evaluated. Calls to the center inquiring about the dog's name and condition were not returned Tuesday afternoon.

But on Monday night, Josh Cusick, an animal resource center officer, said the dog would "probably will survive, but will need vet care." Police said the dog lost some teeth in the shooting. A vet will evaluate the St. Bernard and test it for temperament, Cusick said.

Shooting the dog is considered a "use of force" and a sergeant with the department will investigate the incident, per police procedure. Officers aren't placed on leave for incidents like this, which Dickey said is similar to the process followed when an officer uses a Taser on-duty. Use of force is allowed whenever an officer perceives he or she may be in danger.

"The definition would be that we're allowed to use lethal force to protect ourselves or someone else from harm or death," Dickey said. "We view dog bites as potential for serious harm. If you do get bitten by a dog, it is going to cause significant injuries, so we view that as a justifiable use of a firearm."

Officers must also consider safety when shooting an animal, such as ensuring no one is behind the animal and could be struck with a bullet should the officer miss, he added.

The owner was cited with failure to control, a minor misdemeanor. The dog was also not licensed.