By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Gillette police officer was justified in shooting a dog last month after it attacked a police K-9 officer, according to the results of an internal review of the incident.
The internal review of the incident concluded that due to the seriousness and immediacy of the attack on the K-9, the unidentified officer’s actions that day were in compliance with policies and law.
City spokeswoman Jennifer Toscana told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that it was police department policy to not reveal the name of the officer involved.
According to the City of Gillette, around 4 p.m. on Dec. 15, Gillette police visited a Gillette home in response to a call from a 64-year-old woman who alleged her 18-year-old grandson was out of control and “torturing and scaring [her] dogs.”
When police arrived, the grandmother and teen suspect were contacted in the living room of the home. The teen went into the kitchen and retrieved a kitchen knife, which had a blade approximately 8 inches long.
The suspect failed to comply with orders to drop the knife and retreated to the home’s back porch after making slashing motions toward the grandmother and officers. While on the porch, the grandson caused damage to the outside of the home with the knife.
The suspect eventually discarded the knife after receiving multiple verbal commands from officers, who informed him that a police K-9 would be used in his apprehension.
Officers moved in to detain the teen, but while doing so, one of the dogs in the residence got out. The dog, a two-year-old Shepherd mix, began attacking the police K-9.
After several attempts to get the dog off of the K-9, including the use of pepper spray, the K-9 handler shot the grandmother’s dog. The dog retreated into the home and was later taken to a local veterinary clinic by animal control officers.
The police K-9 sustained multiple bites and was treated for minor injuries.
In addition to finding that the officer acted within the Gillette Police Department’s policies and the law when he shot the dog, the review confirmed that another option, pepper spray, was first attempted, but was ineffective. Further, the review said the use of a taser or specialty impact munition may or may not have been effective at subduing the dog.
According to County 17, the teen was ultimately arrested without further incident. He was charged with reckless endangerment and destruction of property.