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Ogden police shoot pit bull when welfare check goes wrong

Published July 23, 2014 8:20 pm

Fatal force • Police say man ordered pit bull to attack.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden police say what was supposed to be a routine welfare check instead ended up with the fatal shooting of an angry ex-con's pit bull dog.

Police Lt. Tim Scott said the incident began with a 911 call from the man's sister. Unable to reach her brother for several days and fearing he was in danger of gang violence, she asked for officers to check on him.

About 1 a.m. Wednesday, two uniformed officers arrived at the man's home near 3000 Monroe Boulevard. While walking to the front door, the officers — following department policy — rattled the fence around the yard to check for dogs, and none were present at the time, Scott stated.

Soon thereafter, police saw the man approaching them from the backyard with a baseball bat in his hands. Officers shouted, "Police," and tried to tell him why they were there, but the man allegedly answered with cursing and threats.

"The officers [then] heard the suspect shout 'get him' and observed an aggressive female pit bull coming at them. One of the officers fired his service pistol putting the dog down," Scott said.

The dog owner, who has a criminal history that includes assault, protective order violation, assault on a police officer and various weapons offenses, was not arrested.

However, Scott said the Weber County Attorney's Office will screen possible charges against the man.

OPD also noted that there had been "a history of gang activity" at the suspect's home, along with two previous complaints of his unlicensed dog acting aggressively.

Meanwhile, the dog owner's family reportedly has claimed the shooting of the dog was unjustified, and that the may have recorded the incident in a home security camera.

The Ogden shooting comes a month after a controversial dog-shooting incident by a Salt Lake City police officer.

On June 18, Officer Brett Olsen shot a dog named Geist in a fenced-in backyard as police searched for a missing 3-year-old boy who was later found. Police have said Olsen used lethal force because he felt threatened by the dog. The incident is being investigated by the department.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims