Dog shot and left for dead by officers is found alive, euthanized

News-DemocratOctober 20, 2013 

AP GRAPHICS BANK

— A security officer with the East St. Louis Housing Authority and an East St. Louis police officer shot a pit bull mix and left it for dead after the dog had bitten a 12-year-old boy.

While the boy needed stitches on his left inner thigh and was able to return to school the next day, the dog was found in some weeds and later was euthanized.

The boy was bitten while he was on his way home from school. His grandmother, Hazel Johnson, said her grandson is doing OK.

"He had to have 10 stitches and we didn't know whether the dog had rabies so we started rabies shots. But, the Humane Society called us and told us to stop the shots because the dog did not have rabies," Johnson said.

She said her family is upset over the attack on Oct. 10 and she is very grateful to the officers.

Twenty-four hours after the shooting, the pit bull, which had been shot in the head, leg and shoulder, was rescued by Jamie Case, executive director of Pet Guardians, which feeds stray dogs in East St. Louis.

Case said she and her husband were looking for strays when the black and white pit bull mix popped its head up from tall weeds.

"He was laying in the field like he was taking a nap," Case said.

She said it was "clearly unfortunate that the dog had to be shot and clearly unfortunate that the dog was not taken for treatment right away since it had not died."

Case said the dog should never had been left in the field.

The pit bull, who was given the name "Colt" by the people who rescued it, had a microchip and the owner was located who provided proof that the dog was up to date on his shots.

Accounts differ on what provoked the attack.

Cynthia Wilson, an eyewitness, said the whole thing would never had happened if the boy didn't repeatedly throw rocks at Colt and another dog whom she described as well taken care of and not bothering anybody.

Johnson said her grandson told her he did not throw rocks at the dog. He wasn't sure whether any of the other kids who were in the area did, though.

Wilson said she had petted the pit bull mix and another pit bull in the rear of the housing complex in the 1100 block of Division Avenue. She said both animals were friendly.

According to an East St. Louis police report, an East St. Louis Housing Authority security officer called the Police Department at 5:54 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 in reference to a dog bite report.

The report said the security officer was driving in the 1700 block of Kansas and noticed about 10 juveniles running and screaming in the 1100 block of Division.

"The officer stopped and spoke with a girl who told him that a 12-year-old boy had been bitten on his left inner thigh," Police Chief Michael Floore said.

Floore said the officer told police he exited his vehicle and saw two pit bulls running toward him and the children who were on the playground. He said both dogs stopped and growled. The security officer rushed the children to safety by telling them to hop on the monkey bars on the playground. Then, the security officer shot one dog in the left rear leg, Floore said. In the meantime, the other pit bull ran off, Floore said. The wounded dog ran north on Broadway, Floore said.

When East St. Louis police arrived at 10th and Broadway, an officer, whose name was not released, shot the dog two more times to put it out of its misery Floore said.

Floore said the officer who shot the dog "presumed it was dead."

Case said "it would have been great if the officers who were involved had confirmed that the dog died or determined it needed some medical treatment." Case said not lost in all of this controversy is the boy who was bitten. She said she had great concern for him.

"It's unfortunate that the boy was bitten, too," she said.

Floore admits that the officer should have made sure that the dog was dead before he left the scene and he also said public works should have picked the dog up. He said why that didn't happen is under investigation. The officer was not disciplined for shooting the dog because Floore said he followed the correct procedure to contain a vicious dog.

Cortez Slack, supervisor of the security officer whose name was not released, said the officer followed proper procedure and there is no reason to discipline him.

Wilson feels the officers should be disciplined for shooting the dog.

"But this is East St. Louis. We know nothing is going to happen," Wilson said.

Wilson said she is outraged that the officers shot the dog without attempting to corral it or determine whether it was vicious or rabid.

Colt was taken to Hillside Animal Hospital in St. Louis. The owner made the decision to have him euthanized.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

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