By Dal Kalsi -
SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -
The Simpsonville police chief said an officer was forced to shoot a large dog that threatened him while responding to a complaint call about the animal, but the dog's owners claim the shooting should not have happened.
Chief Keith Grounsell said the officer was responding to a call on Hudders Creek Way around 9 a.m. Monday when the shooting occurred.
Police received a call about a large rottweiler mix that was roaming the neighborhood and intimidating residents, Grounsell said.
Grounsell said this was the second call within 24 hours that officers had received about the dog.
"On Sunday morning, we received a call after the dog lunged at a jogger and actually knocked her down, causing some small abrasions," Grounsell said. "Luckily, a neighbor with a cane was able to quickly reach the woman and scare the dog away."
When the officer arrived on Monday morning, the dog immediately began barking and growling at him, Grounsell said, and when the officer began walking toward the house where the 911 call had been placed, the dog began to charge at him.
Grounsell said the officer was able to get a hand on his baton and swung it at the dog, but the baton only further infuriated the dog.
At that point, for his own safety, the officer managed to unholster his weapon and fired on the animal four times, Grounsell said. The dog was later put to sleep
"As police officers, we never want to shoot anything," Grounsell said. "In this case, this was the second time the dog lunged at someone on that street within a 24-hour period, and I'm glad that it was my officer who knew how to defend himself rather than a child."
The dog's owner, Blake Davenport, said the dog's name was "Bella," and Davenport thinks Bella didn't need to be shot multiple times.
"I think that was a little excessive," Davenport said. "Especially for (the officer) to not actually kill it."
Bella's brother belongs to one of Davenport's friends in the neighborhood, Hunter Armstrong, who said Bella was not a vicious animal.
"There's not an aggressive hair on the dog and it's been living here for well over two years and never hurt a fly, never hurt anyone," Armstrong said.
Grounsell said he was sorry the dog was killed, but that the officer made the right choice.
"It's very unfortunate anytime you need to take the life of anything," Grounsell said. "I'm an animal lover myself. I have three dogs, and the officer involved, he is an animal lover. He didn't want to have to do this,but he did not have a choice at that time."
Grounsell said no charges would be filed against the owners since the dog died during the response.