Illinois police chief defends shooting of pit bull

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An Illinois woman is upset with the way her dog was handled by a police officer

KEWANEE, Illinois (CNN) – An Illinois woman is upset with the way her dog was handled by a police officer.

Her pit bull was shot last week by a police officer.

The canine is recovering, but Jessica Smith said her dog didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

Smith says there is a stigma that comes with owning a pit bull, and she thinks that is why her dog was shot.

“It went under the jaw and came out through the neck. It barely just missed his jaw, Smith said.

Her dog is recovering after being shot by a Kewanee police officer after the dog is seen on the officer’s body camera aggressively moving toward him.

“I don’t raise my dogs to be angry, but I do raise them to protect my home and my property,” Smith said.

Smith said when she left home that day, her dog was inside and she doesn’t know how it go out.

“When a dog is running at large, and it goes beyond where it is supposed to be that becomes a public safety issue,” said Chief Troy Ainley, Kewanee Police Department.

Ainley says the dog was closer “than one would think” and that when it stepped onto the street was cause for the officer to draw a weapon.

Smith said the officer’s tone made her dog more aggressive.

“That definitely was an aggressive manner that I`m sure caprice did not like,” Smith said.

Chief Ainley said his officer’s tone was appropriate.

“It’s easy for people to say I would’ve done this or I would’ve done that but until you’re standing there and that dog is coming towards you all that kind of stuff is out the window, and you do what you do to protect yourself.”

The Kewanee Police Department posted a statement about the shooting on their Facebook page:

On October 11th, 2019, the Kewanee Police Department received a complaint from a citizen that an aggressive pit bull charging at people in the roadway in the 600 block of East 5th Street in Kewanee, Illinois. This incident led to the pit bull being struck by a bullet fired from the responding officer’s service weapon. In an effort to maintain an honest and transparent relationship with the citizens of Kewanee, the Kewanee Police Department is choosing to release the body camera footage to show the entire incident. Several false claims on social media were made over the weekend that children were present during the incident and the pit bull was shot as it was running away from the officer. The video shows that these statements are false and a misrepresentation of the unfortunate incident. The body camera footage clearly shows the pit bull was aggressive and approaching the officer in the street. Over the last twelve months, the Kewanee Police Department has responded to 777 complaints of dogs running at large and 32 complaints of individuals being bitten by a dog. These are the facts concerning this specific complaint of an aggressive pit bull running at large.
The Kewanee Police Department was contacted by a citizen that a loose pit bull tried to attack him while he was walking in the street. When the responding officer arrived on scene to speak with the complainant, the citizen advised the officer that the loose pit bull had charged at him three separate times and tried to bite him while he was in the roadway. The pit bull can be heard barking throughout the video and can be seen standing at the edge of the roadway. The officer is standing on the opposite side of the road near his vehicle. The officer attempts to locate the owner of the pit bull so that the owner could safely retrieve the aggressive dog before anyone gets attacked. He retrieves a catch pole from the back of his squad car in hopes of being able to safely secure the pit bull. As the officer is speaking with a dispatcher on the phone, the pit bull starts advancing towards him across the street. The officer informs the dispatcher he must hang up the phone as the pit bull is now coming at him. Based upon the officer’s own observations, combined with the complainant’s information about the pit bull attempting to attack him on multiple occasions, the officer pulled his service weapon to protect himself from the aggressive pit bull. The officer yells at the dog to get back, but the pit bull keeps barking and advancing towards him across the road towards his position. When the pit bull gets to approximately 5 feet away from the officer and still moving towards him, the officer fires one round from his service weapon striking the pit bull. The pit bull then runs from the area and was unable to be captured by officers. The owner of the pit bull, Jessica Smith, was later cited for the city ordinance violation for allowing a dog to run at large. She received a court date of November 15th at 9:00 am at Kewanee City Hall.

Kewanee Police Dept.

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