Dog shot, killed in downtown incident


Staff Writer

After responding to a call of a dog at large, an officer of the Pagosa Springs Police Department shot and killed a reportedly vicious dog Monday afternoon.

The dog is the second to be shot by law enforcement personnel  in Archuleta County in 2013.

The PSPD is not releasing the identities of the officer or the owner of the dogs involved, citing an ongoing investigation into the incident.

At approximately 4 p.m. Monday afternoon, an officer was dispatched to the area of South 8th and South 9th streets to respond to the call of a dog at large, said Chief William Rockensock.

Upon arriving in the area, the officer was flagged down by a woman who stated she was walking her dog when two pit bulls came at her aggressively, said Sgt. T.J. Fitzwater. The woman then picked up her dog and started running toward South Pagosa Park, at which point she saw the officer to flag him down.

After getting out of his vehicle, the officer saw the two pit bulls still in the area and attempted to call them back in order to have the woman ID them and to corral them to be impounded, Rockensock said.

When responding to the officer’s call, one of the dogs, named Mary, ran between houses, while the other dog, Rebel, approached the officer aggressively, Fitzwater reported.

At that point, Fitzwater said, the officer took three steps back and drew his firearm.

Then, Fitzwater said, according to the officer, Rebel lowered to the ground like it was going to leap and snarled at the officer.

At that point, the officer fired one round at the dog, Rockensock said. The officer then called for backup.

Both dogs fled and were later captured, Rockensock said. A veterinarian called to the scene determined it was not possible to save the wounded dog’s life.

Rockensock and Fitzwater said several people witnessed the scene and, as of Tuesday, had corroborated the officers’ story.

Fitzwater said one witness said, “I would have shot it a lot quicker.”

Rockensock said the investigation into the matter is ongoing, with policies and protocols being followed for incidents that involve an officer using a firearm.

Rockensock is, however, seeking to dispel rumors that the officer called the dogs toward him for the purpose of shooting them.

“That is completely false,” Rockensock said.

Fitzwater said the department intends to pursue charges against the dogs’ owner, but declined to comment further on the nature of the charges.