Deputies shoot dog during welfare check incident

Deputies responding 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.

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

According to Valdez, an investigation is underway, with Det. Tonya Hamilton sent to the scene to garner facts and determine a more accurate picture of the incident.

For the full story, see next week’s SUN and check for updates on the SUN website.

This story was posted on January 18, 2013.

14 Responses to Deputies shoot dog during welfare check incident

  1. Inez

    January 19, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Good thing it tried to attack armed people. Wouldve been worse if the dog went after defenseless kids.

  2. Benny

    January 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Agitated resident…..set the dog on the officers.
    Wow! Lock her up……………………….

  3. Barb

    January 20, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    I am the dogs groomer and have groomed the dog many times and he has never ever acted agressive towards me at any time. He was a great dog and loyal to the owner. He acted like alot of dogs would do if anyone came into their house. I think sheriffs and deputy,s need to be trained on how to handle these situations and dogs!!!!

  4. Really?

    January 21, 2013 at 8:17 am

    To the groomer.

    It is the fault of the owner of the dog that the dog is now dead. The deputies don’t just say “oh what the hell, let’s shoot this dog”. If you listened to a scanner, you could have found out how many times that law enforcement has had to be to her residence (or like me, if you live in the neighborhood).

    The owner should be charged with animal cruelty and assault with a deadly weapon.

    I feel bad for the poor dog, but don’t think for a minute that the officers just shot the dog randomly.

  5. Okie81

    January 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    When I was 20 years old, I took a job reading gas meters in a big city. I was in and out of peoples’ yards for 2 years and can say with confidence that this dog did NOT need to be shot. Don’t law enforcement officers carry telescoping sticks anymore? I only carried a large screwdriver and would stand up to rotts, pits, boxers, etc… I was attacked by plenty of dogs, but a good shot to the nose or skull with the screwdriver was all it would take. Maybe I’m just a bad@$$, but I thought law enforcement officers were supposed to be too.

  6. Concerned citizen

    January 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I love reading the comments of ignorant people who think they understand the situations of law enforcement by comparing it to grooming dogs and reading meters.. Pretty rediculous

  7. littledrummerboy

    January 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    i’ve had two red heelers in my life. they weigh about 35 pounds and can almost reach your knee. while they are loyal, i highly doubt its attack was at all life threatening. undersheriff valdez reports that deputy shot the dog “as it attacked”, and then “persisted in its attack” when she fired and missed. i’m curious why there is no mention of any bites or injuries resulting from the “attack.” clearly the deputy freaked out and over-reacted. that dog did not deserve to be killed like that and this person really should not be carrying firearms. fortunately nobody was struck by the stray bullets!

  8. Okie81

    January 22, 2013 at 8:48 am

    What is your experience with dogs that makes you an expert and the dog groomer and myself ignorant? Specifically, how was my situation so different? Let me give you a scenario that I was in several times… I was given a shut-off order for somebody that didn’t pay their bill. I arrive on site, knock on the door, see the curtains rattle, but no answer. They know what I’m there for and hope that having a pit, a rottweiler, and mangy mutt in their yard will keep me out. Nope, I go in the yard, swing my 2 foot cheater pipe 3 times, and crank off the gas. Oh, and believe me, I’ve had people let their dogs out on me plenty of times… So, let’s here it expert… what is the difference with the LEO being attacked by a little Red Heeler?

  9. Concerned Citizen

    January 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    All I am saying is that you were not there, you do not know the situation. When a person is in a position of protecting and serving the public, it is quite different than reading meters. Some people hate cops, and from my understanding, the woman who owned this dog was a regular with the PD. There are plenty of LODDs (Line of Duty Deaths) in the police service, and this creates a whole new level of awareness for police. Its really easy to sit back and criticize law enforcement, as it is fire, ems, and any other government agency. But you dont live with the daily fear and threat of your life being ended. So remember when you sit on your comfy chair watching tv that someone is out there risking there life every day to protect you, and they are human and make mistakes, and sometimes there gonna make decisions you dont agree with.

  10. becky thorne

    January 23, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Kupa was not an agressive dog at all, he was a service dog, the sheriffs depatment knew the commands to him they failed to say the commands, and they failed to let the owner get her dog as well. It was a senceless killing of a very smart dog, The dog did not bite them at all, and so what if he was barking, I even knew the commamnds to him, It is sadden that the sheriffs depatement did what they did, I have worked with the owner and the dog on a regluar bases before. The dog never showed any aggression towards me whats so ever.

  11. becky thorne

    January 23, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I do have another commint to say about all of this, why was’nt the animal control officer called in first off, There are proto calls to go by, Chris would have been glad to do his job the right way by the book than to have other’s do some STUPID like they did. And this is to all the new commers before you judge another, based on hear say for one you don’t know her, nor the dog, Every one is so quickly to judge another person, I am the 5th and 6th generation liveing in this town, I have seen Stupid people jump the gun, rather they are the Law or a lot are Stupid new commer’s who think they are better than any one else. What I say why don’t the new commer’s pack up there bratty kids and move back to where they come from, and also I noticed that the commints than are coming in they don’t use there names they got another name instead, what do you have to hide your self ? And before you are so quickly to judge another you will be judged your self.

  12. Inez

    January 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Im glad that everyone wants to make this situation all about them and their experiences but the fact of the matter is, none of us were there. None of us know exactly what happened. So, to the groomer, I’m sure you enjoy what you do and you understand animals on a different level. The meter monkey, I’m sure that was pretty scary going into yards and dealing with angry dogs. To littledrummerboy who’s two red heelers were 35 lbs and not life threatening. And to Becky who knows the commands of the dog. You all were not there! Some heelers are MEAN and quick!!

    This was a situation with a time, place, dog, individuals and circumstances. Not one of you can speak by experiencing all of these at once as the deputies did. Try going out and doing what these people do. I hear alot of complaints about our protectors but I never see the ones complaining going out and getting the credentials to do the job better. Hate to see what would happen if the cops didnt do the welfare check at all. Damned if you do or dont!!

  13. concerened

    January 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    The dog was a Catahula Not a Red Healer, look up Catahula Cur on wikipedia and read the section for temperament, it is a perfect match to Kupa. He was professionally trained as a companion dog NOT an attack dog and he was only defending his human from an aggressive and unwanted entry by the Deputies. He was surrounded by them in what is the owners own yard outside the apartment and murdered. The dog was never close enough to either deputy to do any damage to them at any time, the barking and lunging are part of the dogs natural herding instincts. They should be removed from the Sheriffs Department immediately.

    It’s a sad day when you have to fear being in your own home.

  14. tex vet

    January 24, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Do not judge, unless you saw what i saw. You should not judge the lady. I will never EVER forget her Screaming for them to not kill her dog. Shame on you PAGOSA that poor puppy was not doing anything but BARKING NOT ATTACKING, that lady was yelling for her dog but the way they LAW ENFORCEMENT held her back was just SICK..good thing there was a tree between my dog and myself we could have been SHOT..SHAME ON YOU PAGOSA.