To protect a small child and others, as well as himself, a Greenfield police officer shot a dog Friday afternoon.
According to Greenfield Police Chief Jeremiah Oyer, an officer was initially called to Smith Street on April 24 by a resident because the dog, a pit bull, was behaving aggressively toward the resident’s daughter, who reportedly had to climb onto the top of a vehicle to get away from the animal.
The child’s mother told officers she saw the dog attempting to get on the hood of the vehicle after her daughter while it barked and growled at her. The mother said she yelled at the animal and threw a rock so that she could grab her 10-year-old daughter and get her to safety. The child’s parents reported that the dog’s owner was not home and that they had sent the owner messages, but received no response, the police department said.
According to a report filed by the officer, when he arrived on the scene he saw that the dog was loose, but that there was still a length of thin chain attached to the dog. The officer secured the barking and growling dog to a stone bench, and the animal charged at him, but the officer was able to get out of the dog’s reach. The officer then called dispatch to contact the dog warden, and then he talked to the parents of the child to get their statements.
The report states that while the parents of the girl filled out statements, the officer was at his cruiser in contact with dispatch when he observed the dog beginning to bark and lunge on its restraint. The officer saw that down the street a couple with a small child had come out of a house. The dog broke free of its restraint and began running in the direction of the child. When the officer yelled to the couple and sprinted toward the dog, then the dog turned back to the officer and charged him.
At that point the officer drew his pistol and fired. The gunshot hit the dog in its side. The dog went to the bench it had been previously secured to and hid behind it. A second shot was fired to prevent the animal from suffering, according to police reports.
The officer advised dispatch of what had happened. Shortly thereafter backup officers arrived, along with the dog’s owner, who shouted many things at the officer, according to the report, including that the dog had not been loose or a danger to anybody.
The dog survived.
Highland County Dog Warden Lanny Brown said he helped provide first aid to the dog and assisted the owner with getting veterinary care for the animal. Brown was at the owner’s residence Monday and said the dog appeared to be recovering well and was walking around the home without issue.
The dog’s owner was Lowell Riffle, 45, Greenfield, according to Highland County Court. He was charged with having a vicious dog and appeared Monday in Highland County Court in Greenfield, where he entered a plea of not guilty. The judge ordered that the dog must remain in the home, and that if it is outside the dog must be under control on a leash. Riffle is to return to the court for a pretrial at 10 a.m. May 4.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.