Dog Killed After Attacking Officer

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

Knoxville (WVLT) A hit and run with injuries in north Knoxville Thursday morning, led officers at on a search for the suspect.

But that search would leave a dog shot dead, and its owner cited for unrelated charges.

Volunteer TV's Jessa Goddard has more on what happened, and how.

KPD officers say they had reason to believe their suspect was in the home on Chickamauga Avenue.

But when they entered the property, this dog did what many dogs instinctively do, it attacked, and the officers responded.

Knoxville police officers say the man committed the hit and run, that injured another driver, and led them to the property on Chickamauga Avenue.

When they arrived to arrest him, one of the property owner's pit bulls attacked.

Capt. Gary Holliday with KPD says, "as they walked around the corner, the pit bull came at them, grabbed one officer by the leg, released, grabbed him by the other leg, did bite him. There was some puncture wounds to that leg."

KPD says the pit bull attacked officer James Hunley, then lunged at his partner Scott Coffey, who shot the dog, dead.

A relative and neighbor of the property owner says shooting the dog should not have been the first response, but a last resort.

Marty Allison, a neighbor says, "the officer walked up in the yard. I'm sure he seen the dog on the lead, he had to have. He should have waited till somebody came out, or maybe went to the front door."

Officer Hunley was treated for minor injuries.

He and Officer Coffey are filing paperwork for review by the internal affairs division.

But Captain Holliday says the officers responded appropriately.

"Well, it doesn't matter if you're on private property or public property, if you're attacked by a dog, you have a right to defend yourself."

In fact, KPD cited the property owner, who was not at home at the time of the incident for failure to have the required city and rabies tags and unsanitary conditions.

Allison continues, "that's not right. I admit the boy done wrong, whatever he done, but they shouldn't have shot the dog. The dog was in his own yard, he was on a lead. They should not have shot the dog."

It's important to note, you could plainly see several "Beware of Dog" signs posted on the property.

We have received no indication this particular dog has been involved in any violent incidents in the past.

Though, all of this could have been avoided had the suspect not fled the scene of that hit and run this morning.

The dog, someones pet, would be alive tonight.

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  • by knoxville citizen Location: Knoxville on Nov 18, 2007 at 08:55 PM
    Put yourself in the officers shoes. You are investigating a crime. You have 100% right to be on ther property to investigate this crime. You approach the back door like you were trained (if this guy ran from an accident why wouldnt he run out the back door when the Police knock on the front). Anyways- you walk to the rear door then get attacked and bit by a 80 pound pit bull. Do you A: let the dog kill you or B:stop the attack and stop further attacks. The answer is B. Get a life people. The POLICE did exactly what they were trained to do. THANK YOU KPD! Keep up the good work!!!
  • by corker Location: united states on Sep 5, 2007 at 03:35 PM
    They must have gotten a warrant under the Patriot Act since this dog was so vicious and a threat to the people of the US. You go cops cause those dogs you carry in your cars are pretty vicious too. Glad to know we can shoot to protect...
  • by Shawn Location: Dandridge on Sep 4, 2007 at 04:45 PM
    i totally agree with Shane on this one i hope the family fights for everything they can. They had no right putting a foot on their property but at the front door not lurking in their backyard. That dog was secured and had every right to defend it's property and family regardless of being an officer or not.
  • by Shawn Location: Dandridge on Sep 4, 2007 at 04:42 PM
    i totally agree with the owners. The police had no right prowling around their backyard and they had no right shooting a leashed dog. They were totally in the wrong. There again just another true sign that the police in TN are just trigger happy and like abusing their authority. Same thing with the cop that shot the dog of the family going through cookeville. I really believe that when an officer has to investigate things that were as minor as the one they were coming there about should have went to the front door and front door only. i am all for animal rights because these poor creatures are abused every single day in this state by people who have no feeling or love for an animal. God created them as well as he did the human life. That cop or cops need to be suspended and fined for cruelty. And more should be done for the fact that those poor people had to receive their dog back without it's head. Especially if they had the tag to show that he already had rabies vaccinations.
  • by palladin Location: knoxville on Sep 3, 2007 at 06:34 AM
    i wasn't there and don't know all the details...but, if the dog was on a tether as was reported in the news sentinel, seems to me it would be easy enough to take a few steps backward. maybe the newspaper was in error.
  • by Carl Location: West Knoxville on Sep 2, 2007 at 09:50 PM
    KUB enters yards every day, and I have never heard of meter readers having to shoot a dog. Did Andy know Barney had his bullet in the gun?
  • by A Fellow Cop Location: East Tennessee on Sep 2, 2007 at 12:55 AM
    Just from what i am hearing from the report here I AGREE 110% WITH THEIR ACTIONS. Were any of you there.NO! You don't know what happened.As a police officer you are trained to protect your life at all times be it from a person or a dog.Put yourself in the officer's shoes.Trying to arrest a fleeing felon and you just seen your partner bit by a dog and now the dog is coming after you.What do you do? Oh wait they shouldnt have been there anyways right? Not hardly.They should have studied the situation and called the suspect by phone and said "Hi this is your local police.Since you have beware of dogs signs in your yard would you please come outside and turn yourself over to us.We would really appreciate it"That is so lame.Good job guys and I am glad you both are ok.
  • by Bonnie Location: east Knox on Sep 1, 2007 at 04:46 PM
    Hit and Run is serious. In active pursuit of someone who committed a hit and run should take precedence over checking out an entire yard for four legged problems. Did the sign say "Beware of dogS"? No rabies shots. No county tags. Some would have have the police stand outside and call, mannerly, for the alleged perp to come out. Does anyone think the alleged perp wouldn't have left through the back door?
  • by Denise on Sep 1, 2007 at 02:14 PM
    Yet ANOTHER story of an officer of the "law" who shoots first an innocent dog who is doing what comes natural DEFENDING his owner.....why is this allowed to the police have their own laws? Sorry that animals mean nothing to the POLICE around here....but they do to the citizens....the VOTING citizens!! SHAME ON YOU!
  • by Felix the Cat Location: Knox on Sep 1, 2007 at 07:49 AM
    Tazer or Retreat. You can sometimes neutralize a threat without the use of deadly force.
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