Everett officer fatally shoots advancing pit bull

EVERETT, Wash. -- An Everett police officer fatally shot a pit bull that he says was aggressively advancing toward him, a department spokesman said Monday. But the dog's owner
is livid that the officer took such drastic measures.

The officer was called to the 5400 block of Rockefeller Avenue around 11 a.m. after a report of two pit bulls running loose, chasing cars and acting aggressive, said Aaron Snell with Everett police. The report was on the heels of several other similar 911 calls through the morning reporting the two dogs were aggressively running around in the streets.

Sandra Boll was walking her chocolate lab when pups came up to her.

"They were running and barking and snarling," Boll said. "I was scared because I didn't know if they were going to charge after me if they couldn't get a hold of (her lab) Dakota."

But the dogs were nowhere to be found by the time the officer arrived on scene, so he went to a nearby home where there had been previous complaints about aggressive dogs, Snell said.

No one was home, but Snell said as the officer was getting ready to leave, two pit bulls confronted and trapped the officer on the front porch. One dog ran toward the officer.

"To escape the situation, he kicked at the dog to get it back and away from him," Snell said. "But the dog immediately came back at him very aggressively so he pulled out his sidearm and he shot and killed the dog."

The second dog ran away but was captured later Monday and returned to his owner. The officer was not hurt.

The dog's owner, Matthew Shong, says the dog was part of their family.

"And it's really heartbreaking that things like this happen all the time," he said. "People assume these animals are aggressive, and officers all over the country are just killing these pit bulls."

Animal control retrieved the dog's body and will conduct a full investigation.

"This is unjust for these families to have to go through this hurt and pain every day," Shong said, "because some officer is gung-ho and just ready to strike an animal down."

But Everett police say based on the complaints from independent witnesses, the officer was likely justified to use deadly force.