Editor’s note: This story contains a graphic image of the dog’s injury.
A Fayetteville police officer shot a dog in its yard Thursday morning during a foot chase of a man wanted on warrants related to traffic charges.
The dog, a put bull mix named Payton, was on a lead when it was shot and is expected to survive.
Police Chief Nick Mounts said in a news release that the officer saw a wanted suspect near South Fourth Street and Pulliam Avenue, and followed the suspect into a yard at 2405 W. Pulliam Ave. at about 11:20 a.m. Thursday.
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When the officer followed the suspect, Robert J. Hock, into the yard, the officer met with an aggressive dog that attempted to bite the officer.
“From an officer’s standpoint, he’s looking for a wanted suspect. He’s not looking for if a dog is attached to a tree; he’s looking for if the suspect is armed,” Mounts said.
Hock was “known to frequent” that residence, Mounts said, and had multiple outstanding warrants for failure to appear.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re wanted for ... he’s still a wanted person,” Mounts said of the warrants related to traffic charges.
The dog’s owner, Amber Adams, said she heard the gunshot but thought it might be something exploding in the burn pit.
She said the officer who shot the dog has been to her house before, with the dog inside as well.
“She barks sometimes ... or growls; she’s never bit anybody,” Adams said. Adams has five children at home and said the Payton is often inside around the family.
She said a child was in the backyard when the dog was shot.
A photo circulating on Facebook shows the pit bull with a wound to its snout.
Adams said her mother took Payton to the Freeburg Animal Clinic, and expects the dog to return home on Friday. The vet bill, before any additional medicine, is just over $500, she said.
During the investigation, police found that the dog had been attached to a lead line, which extended to where the officer had been. One of the home’s residents told police the dog had a history of aggression, which was confirmed by other officers.
Adams said Payton likes to lay in the sun when on the lead.
“I was joking, maybe (the officer) interrupted her sunbathing,” she said.
Police found Hock on the property after they got permission from the residents to search, police said. It is not clear if Hock knew the residents.
Hock remained at St. Clair County Jail on Friday morning on $5,220 bail. He had been wanted in St. Clair County on traffic charges from Sept. 6 including driving on a suspended license and not having a proper child restraint.