SANDUSKY, Ohio-- Sandusky police say an officer’s decision to shoot and kill a dog was justifiable, but the animal’s owner maintains there were alternatives to lethal force.
The situation unfolded last Thursday, when the officer was dispatched to a home on Washington Court, after the U.S. Postal Service notified police that a letter carrier was having a problem with a Rottweiler that was running loose.
Chief Jim Lang told FOX 8, "It had chased the mail carrier up onto the porch and actually inside. She had beat on the door and the gentleman let her inside so she wouldn't get bit."
The officer reported that when he approached the barking dog with a pole to catch it, the Rottweiler ran back to her owner's driveway, but the dog then began moving toward him aggressively, and that's when he shot and killed the Rottweiler. When asked if it was necessary to shoot the dog, Chief Lang said, “I believe it was, yes. I believe the officer felt as though his life was in danger, you know he was in danger of getting bit, and we really believe in officer safety and officer safety comes first."
22-year-old Donna Hansen is the owner of the Rottweiler known as "Lucy", and believes the officer could have used other measures to try and capture her dog. "Police officers carry Tasers and stuff, and I've heard of even in Sandusky, when they do catch dogs that are attacking or whatever, they Taser the dog to calm down, get ahold of it."
In response, Chief Lang told FOX 8, "At that point, he was still too far away to use the Taser, you know it was about eight feet away and I feel as though the officer used good judgment."
Hansen concedes that Sandusky police have been called to her home at least five times for complaints about Lucy, with the principle complaint being the dog’s barking.
In April, 2012, Hansen was cited for allowing the dog to run at large, after Lucy broke loose from her collar. Hansen says her guilt and grief about the death of her dog, turned to anger when she was cited again after Lucy was killed, for allowing the dog to run loose, and for failing to get a dog license.
Hansen has organized a protest outside Sandusky Municipal Court at 8:30 Wednesday morning, in advance of her arraignment on the new citations.
"When you have a pet, they're not just a dog or a cat, they're part of your family and it's wrong to just kill them, especially if you didn't take other kind of precautions," she said.
Chief Lang responded, “We really regret what happened. We’re sorry that it happened, but like I say, officer safety comes first.”