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Deputies shoot dog during incident

Staff Writer

Deputies responding Friday afternoon, Jan. 18, to a call for assistance at a welfare check at a residence on Valley View, a street just north of U.S. 160 in the Pagosa Lakes Core Area, shot and killed a dog that officials say was attacking the law enforcement officers.

A deputy was sent to the address at approximately 2:45 p.m. to assist members of Axis — a local mental health organization — and a crew from Emergency Medical Services, who were at the residence on a welfare check of Vicki Previte, the resident.

According to Undersheriff Rich Valdez, a second deputy arrived at 3 p.m. and the individual at the residence, later identified as Previte, became increasingly agitated, opened the screen door and set her dog on the first deputy. That deputy shot at the dog as it attacked her, and missed. When the dog turned and reportedly persisted in its attack, the second deputy fired two shots at the animal, killing it.

An investigation is underway, with Det. Tonya Hamilton sent to the scene to garner facts and determine a more accurate picture of the incident. Det. Lando Garcia is also investigating the incident.

Further investigation of the incident revealed that the dog was not a red heeler mix as was originally reported, with Garcia calling it a Catahoula leopard mix.

Previte said her dog, registered as King Kupa Cub, was an Australian Catahoula that was registered as a service dog in Arizona.

When asked if she opened the door to her residence and whether she had her dog under control, Previte declined to comment on the incident pending discussion with her attorney, Michael Batey, of Durango.

Messages left for Batey by SUN staff seeking comment were not returned by press time Wednesday.

Garcia said Previte was issued a summons for misdemeanor menacing and unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog.

No charges had been filed as of press time.

Previte said the Humane Society is accepting donations to help her cremate Kupa, and donations must say, “for Kupa.”

Karl Isberg contributed to this report.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on January 24, 2013.
  • Bob Winners

    There are witnesses to this incident that can refute most of the ‘facts’ as related in this story and by the deputy sheriff that killed the Kupa. Though, I do wonder if they will do so due to the reputation that the Archuleta county sheriffs have in the local community.

    The dog was trained as a companion to Vicki and was a threat to no one. Vicki and Kupa were my neighbors for a while and I really liked having Kupa visit. He was a threat to no one.

    The deputy that shot and killed Kupa had been to the residence a number of times before and was familiar with the dog. He once brought the dog to my door in the middle of the night, at the request of the owner, so that I might take care of it while its owner was taken to the hospital due to a fall.

    I know that the EMTs and the sheriffs were well acquainted with Vicki and Kupa.

    I do have one pertinent question: Witnesses have stated to me that Vicki was competent and aware at the time of this incident. She even begged the sheriffs not to kill her dog.

    Personally, I think that the deputy shot the dog simply because he lost control of the situation and saw a way out.In doing so, He killed, for no clear reason, the only companion to an older persosn who really needed him.

    There are other facets of this story, including possible intimidation of a witness, that will come out in due time. I’m quite sure there will be a lawsuit involved. And rightly so.

  • Craig

    It always amazes me when people like Bob Winners always know all the facts, but were not present at the scene nor are they involved in the investigation. Unreal. Bottom line, if the owner at the residence had not allowed the dog into the residence, the shooting would have not occurred and the Sheriff Deputies would not have not been at danger. Deputies do not enjoy killing animals unless they are a threat to people or themselves. It’s a very sad time when an animal has to put down either by a Vet or law enforcement.

    People like Mr. Winners make me sick, people who pass judgement on law enforcement before the investigation is completed and think they know it all. I’m sure your already down at the Pagosa Brewery spreading false rumors about the shooting because you received a ticket two years ago and you still have a grudge against the Sheriff’s Department.

    The Deputies have a tremendous responsibility not only in protecting the people of Pagosa Springs but they also have the right to make sure they dont get hurt. Deputies are not working patrol just to have people abuse them. Why don’t you support them instead of passing rumors like a crack head you idiot.

    Craig Anderson

  • littledrummerboy

    craig, if bob winners makes you sick for expressing compassion and skepticism then i will probably make you hurl even worse… if you think it is ok for cops to whip out their guns and start blasting away whenever they are ill-equiped or they get scared, endangering anyone who may be in the vicinity with their stray bullets, and then partake in what clearly appears to be a cover-up – then you sir, are the one who thinks they “know all the facts”.

    • concerned

      right on! thanks littledrummerboy, I doubt Mr Anderson was there to “know all the facts” anyway so it seems he is the very person he is complaining about.