A police officer shot and wounded a pit bull Monday morning after it allegedly attacked him and attempted to harm two residents.
The officer suffered scratch marks on his arms and legs but did not require medical treatment, according to Celina Police Chief Tom Wale. The residents involved were not injured, he added.
The dog, which was shot once in the head, was treated by a local veterinarian and is being housed by the county dog warden until an investigation is completed.
The names of the officer and the pit bull’s owner are being withheld until the investigation is complete and/or charges are filed, Wale said.
The incident began about 10:50 a.m. when the police department responded to a complaint from the 500 block of Lisle Street regarding a vicious dog. Upon arrival, two residents told the officer a pit bull and a smaller dog had crossed the street to “get at them” and their dog, which was on a leash, Wale said.
The pair were able to get their dog back inside their home before going to the property of the alleged aggressive dogs to tell the owner what had occurred, the chief said.
The pit bull again came at them “aggressively” until they “backed all the way home,” Wale said. The complainants then called police, he added.
When the officer arrived and attempted to contact the pit bull’s owner, the dog came from the back of the home and began barking at him, Wale said. The officer backed away, but the dog continued to advance toward him and jumped on him several times, leaving scratches on the officer’s arms and legs.
“The officer pushed the dog away, but the dog continued to be aggressive, increasingly so, by jumping and snapping at the officer,” Wale said.
The officer then drew his weapon and shot the dog in the head, the chief said.
Mercer County Dog Warden Tom Powell later was able to capture the dog after it was found hiding in a nearby backyard. He said the dog is licensed and he does not recall receiving any complaints against the animal in the past.
The owner claims the dog is current on all its shots, but Powell said he is awaiting documentation. He said the owner will be responsible for any veterinary bills related to the dog’s care.
“It was a through-and-through wound,” the dog warden said. “So we’ve got medicine we’re applying, but he’s doing fine.”
Powell said the pit bull’s owner was at work when the incident occurred but teenagers were at the home. He noted there was a warning sign posted on the property.
“There’s even a sign on the house it (the pit bull) belongs to saying ‘Beware of Dog,’ ” he said. “That should have told people something.”