Lethal Force Justified in Dog Shooting

Lethal Force Justified in Dog Shooting

by Justin Kree

NewsWest 9

ODESSA-  NewsWest 9 first showed you dash-cam video of "Smoke," the Labrador Retriever getting shot by Odessa Police.

A call went out a little after 9 a.m. Wednesday morning because of an alarm call at a home on Lemonwood Lane in Odessa. When police arrived at the home, they say procedures were followed.

"We have a legal right to check the perimeter of the residence to make sure the residence is secure. We check the windows, doors and gates to make sure everything is secure," said Odessa Police Corporal, Steve LeSueur. 

Legally, police can check the backyard of the home. The police report from Wednesday's incident revealed officers never opened the gate and therefore never went into the backyard. The report goes on to say that the dog broke through the old, rusted gate running violently towards the officers.

"The dog continued to charge at both officers in an aggressive manor with mouth open and you could see it's teeth," said LeSueur.

Police had their guns drawn while checking out the alarm call. In an instant decision, officers used lethal force. In the past, 99 percent of encounter with dogs, Odessa Police did not have to use lethal force

Police tell NewsWest 9 that the shooting was justified in the situation because the alarm had not yet been canceled.

"Dispatched advised that the alarm call had been canceled about 30 seconds after the dog had already been shot," said LeSueur.

Ironically, a House Bill is currently being discussed at the State Legislature to offer more training for officers statewide when encountering canines. Representative Brooks Landgraf says training is important but wants to make sure there's money for it.

In a statement to NewsWest 9, Landgraf said, "I support the legislation but want to ensure that the costs to police departments, sheriff's offices and local taxpayers are not unreasonably burdensome."

Odessa Police already receive training when it comes to using force on animals. 

LeSueur says, even though protocol was followed, more training is always welcomed.

"Any type of training is beneficial so it probably wouldn't hurt," said LeSueur.