Efrain Ramirez, the former owner of a pit bull shot and killed by police, said he would like to see a means other than lethal force used against an at-large pet. He is pictured outside his house in Granite Shoals with his 2-year-old daughter, Mia. Staff photo by Connie Swinney
STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
GRANITE SHOALS —A Granite Shoals police officer shot and killed an at-large pit bull that had been deemed aggressive after complaints from neighbors, but at least one resident disputed the dog was a threat and thought the penalty too harsh.
According to the Granite Shoals Police Department, Animal Control Officer Tim Edwards, who is also a licensed peace officer, responded to a call around 2 p.m. Jan. 26 about a “loose and aggressive dog at large.”
The incident occurred in the 1000 block of Kingswell, where the officer met with a woman who told him the pit bull was being aggressive as it attempted to get through her fence to reach her dogs.
During the investigation, Edwards also observed the behavior of the dog, a medium-size, 2-year-old, tan pit bull named Blaze.
“Edwards noted the dog (did) aggressively bark and growl at Edwards as he remained in his (animal control officer) vehicle,” according to a Granite Shoals Police Department statement.
At one point, the dog’s owner called it back to the residence and attempted to put it in the house, but the animal slipped from its collar, authorities reported and witnesses confirmed.
Blaze headed back to the street, where the officer exited his vehicle and activated his Taser on the approaching dog three times. However, Edwards eventually pulled out his service firearm and shot and killed the dog, according to the report.
Across the street from Blaze’s owner, the pet’s previous owner, Efrain Ramirez, disagreed with the decision to shoot and kill the dog.
Ramirez had given the pet to his neighbor as a gift after Ramirez’s wife had become pregnant with his now 2-year-old daughter.
“They shouldn’t have shot him. He was a friendly dog. He was really playful,” Ramirez said. “The reason why I passed it on to (the neighbor) is because they have six kids. They played with that dog and fell in love with that dog.”
Ramirez believed other methods could have helped restrain the dog.
“They should have used a Taser or that wire and pole,” he said. “(Blaze was) a friendly dog, a loving dog.
“He would play with kids,” Ramirez said. “If he was aggressive, I would have gotten rid of him myself.”
Authorities cleared the officer of wrong-doing and decided against giving the pet owner a citation for violating city code involving at-large pets.
“We don’t take any use of force lightly, even against an animal,” the department’s statement read. “The department has policies, and after review, the shooting was justified.
“The Granite Shoals Police Department considers this an unfortunate but avoidable situation had the owners of the animal complied with city ordinances by properly restraining and confining the dog before it became a threat to the safety of the public and a police officer,” the statement added.