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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