Officer shoots attacking dog

Published 10:57 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

A police officer shot and killed a dog that lunged toward him during an incident in the Reid’s Crossing subdivision Wednesday night.

Police were called to the 1800 block of Mountainside Avenue after six dogs – four Rottweilers and two pit bulls – got out of their fenced-in backyard and began attacking a chocolate lab, city spokeswoman Debbie George said. The lab and its owner, Angela Yetley, live in the same house as Sophia Spruill, the owner of the other dogs.

Spruill surrendered the other five dogs to Suffolk Animal Control Wednesday night, George said. The animals, which did not have rabies vaccinations, are now being held in quarantine at the Suffolk Animal Shelter.


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Yetley and her dog were walking across the front yard to the mailbox when the other dogs began biting the lab, said neighbor and off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Baines.

“She (Yetley) was surrounded by a bunch of dogs,” Baines said. He said Yetley was lying on top of her animal, in an attempt to protect him from the other dogs, when he went outside.

He and another neighbor used pepper spray to hold the dogs at bay until the police arrived, Baines said.

“They were pretty aggressive,” Baines said. “…It’s unfortunate one of the dogs had to be shot … but what are you going to do when you have a 150-pound Rottweiler coming at you?”

Neighbor Kat Thompson said she believes officers overreacted, saying the dogs were docile and weren’t barking when police arrived.

“They are pets and not the least bit aggressive,” she said. “The situation was blown out of control. There were seven police officers … with weapons drawn in their yard and people were running around screaming.”

Police charged Spruill with five counts of having dogs without rabies vaccinations or city licenses, George said. Yetley was charged with one count of not having a license for her dog.

Under city zoning codes, city residents are not allowed to have more than five dogs without having a breeder’s license, George said.