Posted: 1:51 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Police shoot dog in Seattle

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Seattle police shot a pit bull Tuesday after officers said a man was bitten shortly after noon. Four pit bulls were loose on Beacon Hill near 35th South and South Morgan Street. An officer tried pepper spraying one of them, and then shot the animal. (KIRO 7)

By Gary Horcher and KIRO 7 STAFF

When Mary and Rickey Brown heard barking in their yard Monday afternoon, they never imagined they were in danger. That quickly changed when they realized four aggressive dogs were confronting the men painting their house.

“One of them ran into our house,” Mary Brown said. “My daughter was frightened and then another dog, a pit bull, ran around back and bit our painter on the arm,” she said. The dogs had somehow escaped their home next door, and entered through a hole in the Brown’s fence.

Mary’s husband told her to call 9-1-1. “The pit bull was really aggressive, and even foaming at the mouth,” he said.

Seattle firefighters and paramedics parked their vehicles directly in the driveway of the home where the dogs live. The Browns watched as the paramedics and firefighters were surrounded by the aggressive dogs. “They couldn’t get to the wounded man because of the dogs,” she said.

Seattle police officers shot and killed a mixed-pitbull terrier Tuesday after it bit a man in the arm, drawing blood. A dog from the same home bit a Seattle Police Officer last August.

Tuesday officers were called to the same home just after 1 p.m. because a man painting a home nearby had been bitten in the arm. When firefighters tried to give the bite victim medical aid the dog and three others barked and lunged, so firefighters called police.

The dog, 4-year old Aries, is described as a mixed-breed American Staffordshire terrier which is a type of pit bull.

Kim Pace lives with Aries' owner and says something must have provoked him.

"It's their property," Pace said, "They probably felt threatened and felt like they needed to defend their area. If an animal of any breed feels like they are backed into a corner, they will defend themselves; it has nothing to do with the fact that they are pit bulls."

Witt says officers and firefighters tried many methods to get the loose dogs, described as three pit bulls and one smaller dog, to retreat with no success: "One of the firefighters used a clipboard to throw at the dogs, and he tried to kick them but they continued to advance on the firefighters, and then the officers also used a fire extinguisher, they used pepper spray and none of that worked."

Officers felt threatened enough for one of them to open fire.

But neighbors say they have never had any trouble with Aries or any of the other dogs who live with Kim Pace.

"I've had pit bulls before. I'm very comfortable with them. I think they're misunderstood a lot," said neighbor Felicia Saephan.

"Honestly I don't know what to think," said neighbor Demetria Ahlquist, "because I told them the owners were coming and if they just waited they could have gotten him safely and this wouldn't have happened."

The officer who fired the fatal shot is on paid administrative leave while the SPD's Firearms Review Board conducts its investigation into the shooting.

The dogs’ owner also wanted to clarify a claim made by Seattle Police on Tuesday. Officer Renee Witt told reporters the dog police shot was the same Pit Bull that bit an officer on the hand inside a home last August. Witt said the officer had entered the home to perform a welfare check on the dogs’ owner.

The owner tells KIRO-7, two different dogs were involved in each incident.

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