A pit bull was shot and killed as it attacked two Lockport police officers investigating a trespassing complaint on South Street over the weekend.
Officer Michael R. Wasik and Lt. Marshall K. Belling responded to a call about suspicious activity at 335 South St. about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The call was placed by a neighborhood resident.
While the officers were in the front yard of 335 South looking over the vacant premises, the dog entered the back yard “and made a beeline for the officers,” Chief Larry Eggert said Sunday.
The dog broke through a locked gate between the front and back yards, tearing out several fasteners as it did, then jumped at one of the officers and tried to bite his face. Mace was sprayed at the dog and it had no effect, as the attack continued, Eggert said.
The other officer drew his weapon and shot the dog at least once, possibly twice. The dog then turned on that officer, sinking its teeth into the officer’s bulletproof vest and tearing it. One or two more shots were fired and the dog was killed.
Both officers ended up shooting the dog to protect themselves and each other, according to Eggert.
“It was a pretty violent attack,” he said. “There was no stopping that dog.”
Some neighborhood residents were upset with the officers after the shooting, but initial investigation of the incident supports the officers’ actions, the chief said.
“On our first look at this, it seems like the officers did what they were trained to do. They were being attacked,” he said.
The department’s inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the shooting will pick up again Monday. Among facts to be confirmed is the number of times the dog was shot — the department is required to account for all bullets, so the dog is being autopsied — and the identity of the dog’s owner. On Saturday, city animal control officer Joanie Black responded to the scene and determined that the dog was not licensed.
Because without licensing there is no proof the dog received rabies vaccination, the dog has to be tested for rabies. One of the officers suffered a superficial scratch while being attacked by the dog, Eggert said.