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Police shoot, run over attacking pit bull

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Incident marks third dog killed by police this month

By BEN CARLSON

City police shot an attacking pit bull several times and ran over it twice before the dog finally died last Thursday afternoon on North Main Street.

The dog was one of two that escaped from a yard on David Drive, killed a black lab and mauled another dog.

The dogs then turned on animal control officer Jason Chesser, who was forced to climb atop his pickup truck and call Lawrenceburg police for help, according to Lt. Chris Atkins of the Lawrenceburg Police Department.

“The black one was twice the size of any pit I’ve ever seen,” Atkins said. “He scared me, and I don’t scare easily with dogs.”

Atkins said when he and Officer Joe Saunier arrived, the dogs were in a neighbor’s fenced yard. They ran to close a gate but the dogs came after them.

“We had them corralled,” he said.

A woman came out of the house, fearing for her dog. Atkins said the dog was the black lab that they later found dead on the train tracks. He said an off-duty officer at the scene took the dog and its owner to a veterinarian. The other dog, he said, survived but was “pretty mangled up.”

Once the dogs were inside the fence, Atkins said he and Saunier had already decided they would be taken to animal control. He said Saunier used his Taser on the brown pit bull, allowing Chesser to secure the dog and pull it over the fence and into a kennel box.

“That mad the black one go nuts,” he said. “It charged the fence, broke through and ran up the train tracks.”

The dog doubled back, though, and went after Chesser, forcing Atkins and Saunier to shoot it with their 40 caliber handguns.

Atkins said he grazed the dog and Saunier hit it in the rear, but it kept going.

“Obviously by then the decision had been made that the dog was a danger to anyone or any animals, so we had decided to use deadly force,” said Atkins.

Atkins said the dog took off and Saunier began chasing it in his cruiser. When he went around a corner, he saw a woman coming out of her house so he got on the car’s public address system and warned her and others to get inside.

Atkins said Saunier was twice able to hit the dog with his vehicle, but it kept going.

He said officers lost sight of the dog, but a motorist stopped and said he spotted a large black wounded dog near Ninevah Road.

“It was near the vineyard,” he said. “It ran that far despite being shot twice and run over.”

Police Chief Tommy Burris arrived and shot the dog again, ending the episode.

Atkins said the brown pit bull survived and remains in custody at the county’s animal control shelter. He said local ordinances allow the dog’s owners to get it back, but not until it meets a host of criteria, including having a proper kennel and liability insurance in place.

Last Thursday’s incident marks the third time this month that officers have been forced to kill attacking dogs.

Deputy Matt Rogers was forced to shoot a pit bull while delivering a warrant. The dog reportedly was biting Rogers’ leg when he shot it while standing inside a family’s home.

In a separate incident, a dog described by its owners as a boxer crawled under its owner’s fence and attacked an 11-year-old boy while he played basketball, according to police.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.