Police chief: 'I've had a dog shot and killed by someone'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Some people gathered outside the Springfield Police Department on Thursday to protest the shooting of a dog by an officer on Tuesday.

The dog survived but faces additional veterinarian bills.

One of the people who came out to protest, Darla Wardrip, said she is a dog trainer and met with Kiki herself.

"I evaluated her temperament, and I believe she's not a dangerous dog," she said. "She was probably, you know, being territorial because it was her environment."

Wardrip said she thinks the officer should have resorted to a different use of force, like bear spray.

She thinks officers need training on animal behavior.

Springfield Police Chief Tim Doney said that officers do receive animal training.

"We go through a lot of training in reference to dealing with use of force scenarios, both primarily with human beings but also sometimes in reference to dogs," he said. "The bottom line to this is that if this animal had been secured in a yard or in a home, we wouldn't be here today."

Doney said the police department is full of dog lovers, himself included.

"I speak with a little bit of insight because I've had a dog shot and killed by someone," he said, "and I also was mauled by a Rottweiler, and I know in those particular cases that sometimes you have just seconds to think and make a plan of action."

Last year, the department responded to over 100 dog calls, and he said they often deal with dogs during their day to day work.

"This is an unfortunate situation. I wish I could tell you that to would never happen again, but I can't in good conscience tell you that," Doney said. "If circumstances present themselves in a particular fashion, could find the same results."

The Springfield Police Department released this statement Thursday about the investigation:

The following is being offered as clarification to information being provided in the media regarding an incident on 081214 in which a SPD Officer shot a vicious dog in response to a call. The investigation is ongoing and preliminary at this point.

6:49 pm - A female neighbor called SPD reporting the dog as running loose and barking at people. No animal control officers were working and no SPD officers were available to respond to the call at that time.

7:13 pm - 72 year old male caller reports a vicious dog, chasing pedestrians and cyclists. While speaking with dispatchers, the caller threatens to shoot the dog himself.

An SPD officer arrives on scene and observes several citizens pointing at the dog which is on the sidewalk barking at other citizens.

The officer tries to distract the dog and gain his attention.

Citizens point out a home to the officer in which they believe the dog belongs.

The officer decides to try to make contact with the possible owners in an attempt to have them help him with the dog.

The dog focuses on the officer and becomes aggressive charging him.

The officer is backing away (attempting to retreat) and the dog continues the charge and lunges at him.

The officer fearing for his safety and the safety of others fires one round striking the animal.

The animal runs off and the officer follows, fearing that other citizens might be attacked.

The dog eventually runs into a yard where it is later controlled.

Officers interviewed a number of witnesses and neighbors and learned the following:

- A 72 year old man was walking down the street and the dog charged off the porch of a home at him, running into the street. This same man reported that the dog also chased after two bicyclists who were also able to get away. (The 72 year old man later phoned SPD)

- A 12 year old boy was walking down the street and the dog charged off the porch of a home and at him. Fearing he was going to be attacked, he took refuge by a parked vehicle and yelled for help. At least two neighbors came outside and observed the boy. At the same time, a passing motorist observed the dog charging and barking at the boy and began honking their vehicle horn to distract the dog. The driver was able to pull in between the dog and the child. The driver (a stranger) offered to drive the child away. The boy got into the car with the stranger to avoid/escape the dog.

Family members of the dog's owner reported that the dog in normally not allowed to be out without people being around it. When the family is gone, the dog is normally kenneled in the backyard or tethered/tied to a tree. The dog has reportedly killed cats previously.

The dog apparently escaped the tether and backyard.

While at the Veterinary Hospital, family reportedly advised to muzzle the animal.

If anyone has any additional information they are asked to call the Springfield Police Department at (541) 726-3714.