Mabry: Dog shooting was unfortunate but necessary

Mabry: Dog shooting was unfortunate but necessary
An officer of the Vermillion Police Department is being depicted as cruel and inhumane by the authors of two letters to the editor that appear in this week's Plain Talk.

Police Chief Art Mabry is defending the actions of Sergeant Ryan Hough of the VPD, who shot and killed a male black labrador dog, named Patches, within the city limits on April 23.

Officers responded to a call from residents who live on Cottage Avenue that an individual had been bitten by the dog.

When officers approached the home of the owner of the dog, the dog became very aggressive, according to police reports. Officers decided to have the dispatch center contact the city animal control department, and during that that time, they observed the dog chasing individuals who were walking and biking on Duke Street.

The owner of the dog exited her home, and officers told her she had to control her pet. According to police reports, the owner stated that she could not control the dog.

Vermillion Code Enforcement Officer Farrel Christensen arrived at the scene, and both he and Hough attempted to contain the animal. The dog responded, however, by aggressively advancing toward both men, according to police reports.

Ultimately, Hough decided that the dog was an imminent threat to the public and to officers, and shot the dog with his service weapon.

Hough wrote in the police report that he told the dog's owners that it was not the police department's intent to harm the dog. "However, we would not compromise our safety or the safety of the neighboring citizens," he wrote.

Hough noted that the dog eventually began running towards him with his teeth exposed and the fur around its neck standing on end.

Fearing an attack was imminent, Hough drew his weapon and fired five shots into the dog.

"We feel bad any time that has to happen," Mabry said. "My concern is that both times we talked to the lady who owned this dog, each time she told us she couldn't control this dog."

According to police reports, officers responded to incidents involving Patches earlier this year on March 11.

Mabry said he has talked to a man who witnessed the incident.

"He said the officer had no choice, and he thought the officer responded very well to his training," the police chief said.

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