MT. HEALTHY, Ohio (FOX19) - The Mt. Healthy Police Department is defending the actions of their officers after a dog was shot and killed while they were investigating a home.
The department posted on their Facebook page about the incident which happened on Forest Avenue at 12:55 p.m. Thursday.
Officials say they received a call about two dogs entering and exiting a home with the front door open for more than 30 minutes.
Hamilton County Communication classified the call as a ‘place found open’ or PFO, they say.
They say a Mt. Healthy detective who was wearing plain clothing arrived first, then a primary officer and probationary officer who just began field training arrived second.
Mt. Healthy police say that given the uncertain nature of the call, the probationary officer un-holstered his service pistol and carried it as a ‘low ready’ position, as did the primary officer.
They say the detective and the primary and probationary officers approached the house from different directions.
Police say that as the primary officer approached the front door on the home owner’s property, a small dog was standing in front of the door.
They said a large dog, that also belonged to the owner, ran from behind the smaller dog from his home, toward the officer.
Police say the primary officer could be seen on body camera surveillance footage backing up and yelling commands at the dog before shooting and killing the dog before it ever reached the officer.
Mt. Healthy says they left a voicemail for the owner after the shooting and called the SPCA and asked Mt. Healthy Public Works to clean the driveway surface.
The department says that because officers were called to investigate possible criminal activity by a neighbor, they believed there was reasonable suspicion criminal activity had or was currently happening. Because of this, they say the officer was justified in shooting and killing the owner’s dog on the owner’s property where the dog lived.
They say their entry to the property to investigate was appropriate and consistent with federal and state laws and department training.
Police also said the primary officer’s actions in shooting the dog at what they claim was a ‘sudden attack’ by the dog is consistent with training and police procedure, and also supported by the Mt. Healthy Code of Ordinances:
"90.09 Animals: Dog may be killed for Certain Acts:Subject to R.C. 955.261 (A)(2) and (3), a dog that is chasing or approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack that attempts to bite or otherwise endanger, or that kills or injures a person, or other animal that is the property of another person, except a cat or another dog, can be killed at the time that chasing, threatening, harassment, approaching, attempt, killing or injury. If in attempting to kill such a dog, a person wounds it, the person is not liable to prosecution under the criminal laws or ordinances that punish cruelty to animals. Nothing in this section precludes a law enforcement officer from killing a dog that attacks a police do as defined in R.C. 2921.321.
The property owner was in violation of Mount Healthy Code of Ordinances Section 90.01: Animals Running At Large:90.01 Dog or Other Animals Running At Large; Nuisance, Dangerous or Vicious Dogs; Hearing.In pertinent part: Section (B)(3) Except when a dog is lawfully engaged in hunting and accompanied by the owner, keeper , harborer, or handler of the , no owner, keeper, or harborer of any dog shall fail at any time to do either of the following: (a) While the dog is on the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, securely confine it at all times in a locked pen that has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure that has a top.
Ohio Revised Code Section: 955.22 Confining, Restraining, Debarking dogs; Dangerous Dog Registration Certificate.(C) Except when a dog is lawfully engaged in hunting and accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or handler of the dog, no owner, keeper, or harborer of any dog shall fail at any time to do either of the following:(1) Keep the dog physically confined or restrained upon the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer by a leash, tether, adequate fence, supervision, or secure enclosure to prevent escape;(2) Keep the dog under the reasonable control of some person."
They ended their Facebook post with a warning to all dog owners: “Please keep your dogs on a leash or in a secured enclosure on your premises.”