By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – An officer with the Crockett Police Department was forced to discharge his firearm when pepper spray failed to deter a pit bull from attacking him while he responded to a call on the afternoon of Friday, July 6.

According to Lt. Clayton Smith of the Crockett PD, the officer – whose name was withheld in the press release provided by Lt. Smith – arrived at a residence located on Bowie Street after the department received a report of a pit bull trying to attack a neighbor.

“The CPD officer arrived on scene and met with the complainant,” Lt. Smith explained. “The complainant advised the officer that she had been having problems with the neighbor’s aggressive pit bull running at large. She advised the officer the pit bull had just charged at her granddaughter before the officer arrived.”

The officer went to the home of the pit bull’s alleged owner with the intent of issuing an “animal at large” citation and request that the animal be properly secured.

“As the officer approached the home, the pit bull came out from behind the home and charged at the CPD officer multiple times attempting to bite him,” Lt. Smith said. “The officer retreated and was able to spray the dog with pepper spray, which had minimal effect on the dog.”

The pit bull continued to charge and attempt to bite the officer, who again retreated, eventually backing up into Hwy. 287 South.

“The officer was forced to fire his weapon one time, striking the dog in the facial area,” Lt. Smith reported. “The dog fled the scene, and the officer searched the area and was able to find the dog.”

The animal was transported to a local vet to receive treatment.

A preliminary investigation of the incident maintains that the officer exercised plentiful restraint before resorting to using his firearm to protect himself from the dog.

“We currently do not have an animal control officer or an animal shelter in our city,” Lt. Smith pointed out. “The stray animal population has tripled in our city and has become a quality of life issue for our citizens.”

Smith said the Crockett PD has responded to multiple calls regarding dog bites throughout the year.

“Our officers have to respond to these calls on a daily basis and with limited resources to find a solution once they arrive on the scene,” Lt. Smith said.

Smith described Friday’s occurrence as “an unfortunate incident for all that were involved.”

All pet owners in the city of Crockett are encouraged to keep their animals secured at all times, as is dictated by a city ordinance.

“We hope the city will find a solution soon that will help us cut down on the population of stray animals in our community,” Lt. Smith finished.