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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.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on February 28, 2013.
  • Kemo Sabee

    Seriously? Another dog shooting within our community by the police? What a better place to shoot a dog than in front of SEEDS in front of young and innocent children. Why not use the stunguns that they carry on them instead of using a FIREARM within close distance to schools. The Police need to get some better training when handling these situations or better yet when theres a dog at large call animal control, isnt it their job to get dogs at large? Shouldn’t our officers be responding to the calls of aggresive & drunk drivers, domestic violence issues, etc.. you know crimes.. Here’s Animal Control’s info if you cannot find it. 970.264.4151 x243. Information gathered directly from our Town Drirectory.
    Discuss.

    • Concerned Citizen

      What if the animal control officer was in chromo, or hatcher, or arboles, or aspen springs? Do you want a dangerous dog running around that whole time in front of seeds and in the downtown area? And I believe that the officer, who was not responding to “Crimes” and who was assisting the citizen did a good job. Its so easy to sit back and criticize things that you didn’t witness. Sitting at home reading the newspaper and commenting on it is a lot easier than getting out there and really dealing with the situations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shane.tuller.1 Shane Tuller

    Do cops no longer carry batons? Or is non-lethal force simply no longer allowed? Just curious.

    • bazoo

      baton schmaton.. give him an ar-15… let him just let those bullets fly in a busy area. Oh my, those terrible, vicious dogs… better kill em’ all. Can you say over-reaction? Better not let your dog get loose. Bet that’s how they do it in TX too.

    • Concerned Citizen

      If you guys want to have at a full grown pitbull with a baton, be my guest. But you are not the majority.

      • http://www.facebook.com/shane.tuller.1 Shane Tuller

        I took on my neighbor’s full grown pitbull with an old axe handle. Dog didn’t ever try to bite me again, I’ll tell you that. But to be fair, I did at least wait til he attempted to bite me. Didn’t want to brain somebody’s dog without reason.

    • April Clark

      Do owners no longer have to take responsibility? Just curious. Yes they do carry batons and some carry tazers to (if they have been trained on them) this doesnt stop the fact that this officer was justified in doing what was necessary to stop the animal from causing any harm to a life that he took the oath to protect. PEOPLE, animals are unpredictible if you think that this animal was so sweet and would never attack anyone your negligent and should never be an animal owner! Animals don’t communicate with human language and although they learn the tones of voice and even learn tricks; we can never fully trust in our beloved pets that they will not be an animal that can and may one day attack. Since when does an animal life take presidence over the life of a human? Can that pet take care of children left behind? Can that pet financially support a geriatric parent that relied on their child to help them? Can that pet drive? Can that pet be any more than a pet? If you love your animals so much then be responsible for them to spare these incidents from happening! If you can not do this then please relinquish your right to that pet and let someone who is willing to be responsible take care of them. Most of our complaints reguarding animals that come into dispatch are dog at large and barking dogs. People leave animals outside and let them bark non stop even through the winter time. Where is the rally of animal lovers when that pet is left outside in the snow storm? Or where is the rally of animal lovers when the owners turned it loose to run during the snow and it gets hit or causes an accident while running across the icy roads?

      • http://www.facebook.com/shane.tuller.1 Shane Tuller

        Hey, hey, hey! I never said that dog was an innocent cute little adorable pet. I never said the owner shouldn’t be held responsible for any damage the dog may have caused. I never said that dog wasn’t dangerous, and I never said the officer wasn’t justified in shooting said dog.

        I merely asked a question and made a statement. Sometimes it pays to think. A healthy discussion never hurt anybody.

  • Local Guy

    Anybody been here long enough to remember Garrett Carothers? These pitt bull dogs are very dangerous.

  • Jane Doe

    You all need lessons in gun control…just like the service dog you shot in jan Kupa who was a service dog and a attack dog, did you shoot this poor dog in front of its owner also.?All of you need to use control and need more training.Your all gun CRAZY.Pagosa needs a new group of law enforcement. Why didn’t they just stun him instead, or call animal control? i know that’s protocol.

    .

  • Jane Doe

    You all need lessons in gun control…just like the service dog you shot in jan Kupa who was a service dog and NOT an attack dog, did you shoot this poor dog in front of its owner also.?All of you need to use control and need more training.Your all gun CRAZY.Pagosa needs a new group of law enforcement. Why didn’t they just stun him instead, or call animal control? i know that’s protocol.
    **i meant to say he was NOT an attack dog in my last post. sorry

    • Jimmy Joe

      “Down boy, think you can wait a few to tear me apart, need to go make a phone call and grab a few things from the office just hold on a sec” -_-

  • Craig Anderson

    Law enforcement had all the right to kill the dog. The Police Department had no choice. I always love the local idiots who rally for a vicious animal who’s going to hurt someone. They need to go hug a tree. The owner should be cited, it’s his fault. That’s the end of it.

  • Jasmine

    I know Reble he was the sweetest dog. He was literaly a PUPPY he was mabey a year old. When I herd he was killed I cried my heart out. He would never do this. Maybe he growled but that was because he was scared.Even the sweetest dog would growl in a state of danger. And mary is even sweeter. These two dogs are the best. Reble didn’t deserve to die. When he was shot he ran right back home where his owners, my family, came home to police and Reble no longer alive. What do u make of that. Pits are not bad dogs they are one of the most loyal breeds. I just know the police officer is putting in some fiction. Please think… What if that was your baby on the other end of that gun. What would u feel. The pain is over welming u could never imagine how hard this is to live with knowing someone has shot and killed ur baby.

    • Anonymous2

      Sweet Dogs do not attack people. This Dog and the other dog- Mary, have both attacked people. This dog bit a kid 3 weeks ago, and the owner was ticketed. The Humane Society gave it back to the owner just a few days before, and then it attacked and bit a woman walking in our neighborhood the day before it was shot. The day it was shot, it was trying to attack a woman and her dog, then the Police Officer. The other dog attacked a couple and their dog last year. Neighbors have called in complaints on both dogs many times.

      • Jasmine

        He was a sweet dog ok. U didn’t know reble or mary. plus it dosnet matter the point is he didn’t do this and he didn’t deserve to die. He was not died right away he sufferd a horrable death. He was not goin to hurt anyone he was curios he only did that because he was scared. Remember I new this dog. what would u feel if he was yours? Knowing he was killed for no reson. He was not planning on hurting any one. He never got down like he was going to jump. I know he didn’t. Try thinking about your dog being accused of being something he is not and getting shot for it.

        • vexed_weasel

          Are you going to respond to the claims of attacks cited by Anonymous? Or are you going to prattle on about your “mabey” year old PUPPY?

          From the incidents cited above these both sound like unsocialized dangerous animals.

  • makes me sad

    The Dog was a living breathing annimal just like your child. It feels pain also,I feel bad for the loss, Just like the pain the lady must feels for her service dog. They need to clean house here an get with it, an

    GET REAL Law ENFORCEMENT in this town who knows what they are doing.

  • downtown resident

    my husband was a witness of the murder of this dog. he did not see a dog being aggressive. he saw a officer call the dog over and panic when it came closer. he saw him shoot the dog in front of children playing across the field at seeds of learning. he asked to give a statement but the police contacted him once, said they would call back. never did. he called them 3 days later to give his eye witness statement. his remarks are not in this article. only what the police want you to hear. even if the dog was not on it’s property and had scared a woman earlier, there are other options than to shoot the dog in the face. pepper spray or stun him?! be careful dog owners if your dog happens to roam off in town. it could be next. so wrong, so wrong.

  • Concerned Citizen

    We arent talking about the same incident here.. That is a completely different issue.

  • Jimmy Joe

    This town is full of lose pit bulls and one of these days one of them is going to get someone that is not armed or even children!! I recommend that the town does something about these dogs! outlaw them or require them to be chained in a fenced backyard!! pit bulls come straight from the pit!!

    • Anonymous2

      2 of them already did nearly kill a kid here, remember Garrett Carothers? I don’t walk much in town anymore after one chased me last year. It is a real problem here.

  • Local Guy

    Anyone been around long enough to remember Garret Carothers? If not, search his name on the Pagosa Sun’s site. Very tragic. Very scary to have two of these pit bulls running loose near a pre-school.

  • Guest

    People that let their dogs run loose should have no say in what happens/heappned to it. It is their responsablility wether it is a vicious dog or not. Pitbulls are great dogs, I had one, not a mean bone in it’s body. It is all about the way a dog is raised, nothing more. Dogs can be trained to behave, to bad humans can’t.

  • Guest

    People that let their dogs run loose should have no say in what happens/heappned to it and should be held accountable for what it does.. It is their responsablility wether it is a vicious dog or not. Pitbulls are great dogs, I had one, not a mean bone in it’s body. It is all about the way a dog is raised, nothing more. Dogs can be trained to behave, to bad humans can’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.cobb.98 David Cobb

    People that let their dogs run loose should have no say in what happens/heappned to it and should be held accountable for what it does.. It is their responsability wether it is a vicious dog or not. Pitbulls are great dogs, I had one, not a mean bone in it’s body. It is all about the way a dog is raised, nothing more. Dogs can be trained to behave, to bad humans can’t.

  • un happy camper

    GET NET LAW ENFORCEMENT IN TOWN THAT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING< someone needs to call denvers internial affairs and have this town checked out they fib about everything here to cover there butts.

  • April Clark

    UN HAPPY CAMPER! I’m sorry but your comment about being a yahoo and bashing the training of law enforcement with a “two week course” makes you look so ignorant! If you had any knowledge to speak so freely maybe you’d know that it takes these men and woman over 600 hours and 6-8 months worth of intense training in criminal law, traffic law, case law, hand to hand, driving, firearms, and other courses of training. I know personally because I am a former officer! You all sit up here to bash a quick judgement and one that I my self may have chosen as well. How sad is it that the only thing that is lacking in this community is the humility of man! How many deaths do these officers attend first hand? I do not see any of you comment about the well being of these officers states of mind as they attend to the death of a child, a person they may have known, or even a death of a friend, or even family! Wheres your concern about some defriefing of coping with death for these people? NO, yet you attack them so openly while hiding your idenity? Cowards, you know nothing about the scrutiny that these officers go through. I don’t see any of you putting on a uniform to serve this community! They are scrutinized by the department for every action they take wether good or bad, they are scrutinized by the public, by their friends, family, and by themselves. They question every action they make both in their postion and in their private lives! So before you defend the guilty, maybe you should step back and realize that this office who shot this dog may have saved these children at seeds, a future attack from this dog! It is the owner of these animals who are negligent for not being a good animal owner and following the law to keep them leashed and/or properly housed! Do you know how many animal calls Archuleta County Combined Dispatch receives in a weeks time? MULTIPLE! our town and county do not have the money to staff a full time 365 day animal control. There is one animal control officer for the entire county!! Law enforcement picks up the slack! Next time there is a major emergency you (GOD FORBID) have to experiance and it takes that officer 10 mins to respond just think he is probably on a dog barking call!!!! MAKE THE OWNERS RESPONSIBLE AND START TICKETING AND REMOVING ANIMALS FROM NO RESPONSIBLE OWNERS!!!!