St. George police officer shoots dog during attack

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A dog was shot while allegedly attacking a St. George Police Department officer responding to a stray animal call Sunday morning.

At approximately 8 a.m. on Sunday, SGPD officers responded to a stray animal call in the vicinity of 1400 North 1500 West.  When the dog attacked, an officer discharged his firearm and shot it.

“An officer discharged a weapon on a dog,” SGPD Sgt. Albert Gilman said. Gilman did not know what kind of dog it was, or why the it reacted aggressively toward the officer.

The dog survived and is currently being treated at an emergency veterinary clinic. No officers were injured during the incident.

Ed. note: “Allegedly” added in first sentence. This report derives from police statements only; further statements are being pursued.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @sarahisaacson1

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Richard September 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I for one am just appalled that the officer couldn’t read the dogs mind to know why it had aggressive behavior! Maybe the writer of this article can tell me anyone who can read a dog’s mind!

  • david September 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Why was animal control not called before the officer had to shoot the dog? Maybe the SGPD should have spent a few bucks on tranq guns instead of buying a Bear Cat. Why are our police officers not trained in handling stray animals, such as this one? What is the standard operating procedure for our police force when encountering a stray , aggressive dog such as this? How come the author of this article did not ask these questions? How come the person writing this article is working as a reporter for this news organization?

    • Someone with a connection September 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      I have been told many-a-time when I call in strays that he St. George Police Department does not have funding to call animal control out on “weekends, after hours, or holidays” for “non-emergencies”. They tell me to keep the animal until the shelter opens or let it run free. To their credit, at least they transfer me to the animal control office to leave a message, but a lot of good it does when an entire weekend goes by and the same animal is running in and out of traffic or dying from the heat!

  • david September 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    One more question. How come the bio on the author is longer and has more info in it than the article written by said author.

  • Sherrill September 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    You are so correct Richard and don’t you think that if there is a dog sitting on his porch he’s thinking that’s his porch? And according to witness of the incident the officer had his gun drawn coming up to the porch. Just because he looked like a pit, but wasn’t that’s why he fired. Now they need to get the story straight. And no he’s not at the animal emergency vet he’s in the pound!! And how do I know this.. Because he’s my dog! And the dogs injuries are threw the nose, blew off his front paw “that’s from cowering” hit again in the front leg and about blew off his hind leg.. Hmm that’s from running away!! Really! Shot the dog three times! I woke up to him bleeding to death on my bed!

    • Richard September 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      So how did the dog get out in the first place? How many dogs are kept at this house? Why were the police called out to your house? Tell us the facts as you say you know them. I have yet to see any eye witnesses make any comments on what happened.

  • Crazydoglady September 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I’m so sorry this happened; however, it would have never happened if the owners were responsible pet owners. No dog should be allowed to run the neighborhood. There is a leash law, but the moral and responsible things to do is to keep you animal under your control at all times, i.e. confining them in the yard or house and/or on a leash at all other times. Its just that simple!

  • San September 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    It’s awesome that the dog is at the emergency animal hospital. Hopefully the dog is chipped and the owner will be held responsible.

  • Karen September 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I know the person and those dogs. That dog that so called attacked viciously has never hurt anyone in his life. He is around her grandkids all the time. I have pictures of her with he dogs and she loves them. And why and how, did that officer get off 3 rounds on that dog if he was being attacked,as said in the Spectrum. I have had it with the police and this dog death chamber for a long time. I am appaled at this officer who got off 3 rounds from his gun on an attacking dog. Impossible! They happened to get out the gate, and would have been found within minutes of the officers arrivals. That dog is her sons dog that went on a Mission fort the church, and she was taking care of him. Something smells, and it isn’t a dog.

    • yowza September 3, 2013 at 6:43 am

      First of all, any dog will be gentle toward whomever he has been socialized with. A cop, who is a complete stranger, obviously is going to be a target for an aggressive dog. The other thing, do you even realise it takes less than 2 seconds for a trained officer to draw and fire 3 rounds. They’re trained to react quickly to save themselves or others from bodily jarm or death. Its not like he was sitting back and taking pot-shots at the rabbid beast.

    • MShabazz September 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      Have the owner file a complaint with the St. George Police Department’s Professional Responsibility department (AKA Internal Affairs).

  • againstdumbowners September 2, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Sherrill, you claim to have found the dog on your bed bleeding however then you state that the dog is now at the pound. So you took your shot dog to the pound instead of a vet???? Also that would mean that you were still in bed at 8 a.m. and you claim that the gun shots did not wake you? Seems a little peculiar to me. I think it is you who needs to get their story straight. Bottom line though, if you had been a responsible owner and had the dog with you, the dog never would have gotten hurt. It seems like you do not really care for your pet until it makes it into the news. maybe you should think a little bit more before you post something like this online in attempts to make it seem like you are the only one innocent in this matter. The dog is the innocent one. A creature who can only do what its worthless owners teach it to do. And now the dog is one suffering for your stupidity and lack of responsibility.

  • david September 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Sorry crazydoglady but according to the stg animal patrol , as long as your dog is on your property it does not have to be restricted. However if it is off your property it is subject to impound.

  • JoeAK49 September 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Just to set the record straight. The dog was treated at a vet emergency clinic and was released to the care of the St. George Animal Shelter. What also isn’t mentioned in the article and in the comments is that the officer was called out because of multiple dogs running loose in the neighborhood. The owner of all these animals, Sherril, also houses more than two dogs which is a violation of the St. George City ordinance. Whether the officer was justified in pulling and firing his weapon will be determined. There are no innocent people in this incident. Once again, an irresponsible pet owner causes an unnecessary incident and blames it on someone else.

  • Cristina September 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Omg doesn’t St. George have animal control people who KNOW HOW to restrain animals?!?!?!?! Didn’t this stupid cop learn from the story and all the media that cop in California received? !?!??!! Idc if the dog is violent if you can’t handle a situation with a little old dog working with police force is not for you!!!! End of story!

    • Ken September 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      From your asinine rant I am sure that a lot of people will give it credence. Sadly your not able to be involved with an adult conversation as to what happened. “stupid cop” wow that is mature for a 10 yr old…I know that’s all you got!

    • yowza September 3, 2013 at 6:49 am

      Okay… maybe next time they can just call you out since you have nothing better to do than write assanine comments and then you can charm the dog with your dog -wisperer skills as it clamps down on your jugular as you give it hugs and kisses…. freaktard.

  • Saffire September 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I know these dogs and they are definatly not aggressive to any body unless prevoked and if they were they little kids and band new babies wouldnt be around him apperently the cop doesnt know how to do his job and if the dog is in his own yard there shouldnt of been police called to the scene anyways besides the cop was trespassing and should of gotten sited for that himself any dog you walk up on with a gun pulled is going to be fight or flight and thats that sherrill knows how to take care of her animals and people before you start talkin need to get their facts straight and not just tryin to make up a story for idiots to read besides sherrill has a brand new baby grandson that is around the dog and nobodys had any problems with them besides the fact the stupid cop as it says never got attacted and profiling dogs is inhumane just cuz it looks like a pit doesnt mean its bad not all pits are bad it is the idiot trainers that should be blamed so the dog shouldnt be in the pound it should be to the vet and the police officer should have to pay for the damages which i really would sue the police department or at least that cop sherrill is really responsible of her animals always has been always will be point blank.

    • hopeforlife September 4, 2013 at 5:40 am

      So ? for u saffire if the dog was in his own yard how come the owner didnt hear any gun shots ? And who called the cops on the dog in the first place? I have three dogs that never ever are in my front yard alone , my dogs have a back yard and thats where they are or in my house my dogs are just like my kids i know where they are at all times. And i am a proud owner of 2 pits and because of that i am always making sure i know where my dogs are just because people are stupid when it comes to pits they think they are mean dogs .

  • zkk September 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    If I had a gun and a dog tried attacking me I’d do the same. If u run from the dog it just gets worse. Owners need to keep there dogs in there yard. Not let it run around if its going to attack least its not dead.

  • zkk September 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Ya because dogs know what guns are??? Highly doubt the cop went into someone’s yard and shot there dog. Not in stg.

  • Kim Weiss September 2, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    This is complete bull…!! An officer of the law should be prepared for things like this and do everything they can before taking action like this… Another example of Washington counties “best” treating animals cruelly. Started off with the animal shelters now they’re just shooting them in the streets!!!
    Ed. ellipsis (first ellipsis)

  • Kristin Schwiermann September 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I’m a responsible dog owner. They ( My dogs ) have a back yard, and they stay there, or are in the house. I do not let them roam, and they are spayed and nurtured . They both have current shots. Dogs are like children, You don’t just let them roam and out by them self’s. You say you were awoke with the dog bleeding on your bed? You didn’t know what it was doing or where it had been? That is NOT responsible! And yes the media does not always or very rarely gets the story straight. I feel for dog, and there must be a lot of what ifs on both sides. I still think you have to be a RESPONSIBLE dog owner.

  • SEB September 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Why does UPS AND FED-X employs, the paper boy, missionary, post man, and the neighbors know how to handle the neighborhood pet. But this gun crazed cop cant?

  • Terri September 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    If a dog is on its porch it is on its property ! The officer had no right according to the law to shoot it! St George is just aweful with animal the issue with the shelter should tell you that!! They have dispatch tell people on the weekend and at nights to just let the strays they find go! Why aren’t all the people who took their pets to St George shelter and paid money to have them euthanized humanly doing something about the fact they killed their animals in a horrible way!!

  • Neil September 2, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    So we have a police officer trained in hand to hand combat, armed with pepper spray, a night stick, a taser and a fire arm and he goes straight to his most lethal weapon to “defend himself” from a dog that is a fraction of his size? It appears to me that the officer is either a coward with poor judgment or he’s just sadistic and just likes to kill things. In either case, I don’t want him roaming the streets of this city. This incident needs to be fully investigated and the officer held accountable.

  • holy mackerel September 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Wow. Would hate to be a dog in St. George Utah.

  • William Way September 3, 2013 at 12:58 am

    I’m sure that within days there is a squad of political propagandists that will be out shouting about the officer intentionally shot the dog because the shelter is overcrowded…or some similar nonsense. Afterall, one of the City Council candidates is using animal control as THIS YEAR’S campaign agenda.

    Maybe this will result into a private investigation to go along with the private investigation into the animal shelter.

    Maybe this is the result of a couple of candidates spinning a non-issue about the shelter into an attempt to get a city animal control officer fired.

    Maybe a police officer was first on the scene because the shelter is now overworked because of the extra animals up there and an ACO…all because one council person decided to pander to a candidate that was manufacturing an issue.

    Maybe, maybe, maybe.

    There is one thing that is not a maybe. There ARE consequences, beyond a group’s political interest, that occur when uninformed and naive candidates are pandered to simply because they are candidates.

  • Stan September 3, 2013 at 1:23 am

    I love the intelligence manifested in these replies. I highly doubt any officer is going to shoot towards someone’s front porch for sport and risk injuring a person and losing their job. What other information in an article do you want???? She pretty much tells the facts: they were called out and responded, he was attacked, he shot the dog. Pretty straight, forward, and to the point. Unless any of you are ballistics experts I don’t think you could possibly know what position the dog and weapon were in at the time of the shooting. I’m sick and tired of all the people who belittle those officers who have to deal with a bunch of idiots day in and day out and who never know when some idiot is going to pull a gun on them and open up. If he really was out to kill the dog I think he could have done so, their service weapon holds about fifteen rounds, not only three. I would have done the same thing if a dog attacked me and I had a weapon to defend myself. I also don’t believe he would have drawn his gun on lassie up there wagging it’s tail and wanting to play fetch. Yes the whole incident could have been avoided had the dog, or dogs not been running loose if the officer was in your yard he was probably coming up to the door to let you know someone had complained about your dog running loose. I’m also pretty sure he didn’t decide that all the paperwork and stuff that he would have to do, after discharging his firearm, would be worth it just for the chance to shoot a pitbull.

  • stg mom September 3, 2013 at 7:00 am

    i’m so embarrased to see peiple making such a huge deal about this. in retrospect, i’m so grateful to live in a city where “cop shoots dog” makes it ibo the headlines. this means and the cops are doing their job right, keeping us safe!! cops are going out each day risking their live. it was a dog, people. small price to pay.

  • really ? September 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I just think of all the times I’ve heard of aggressive dogs jumping up and grabbing small children from their mothers arms and then ripping them apart or attacking small kids in packs like they were out hunting for em. I say good job sgpd! One less &*%$! Dog to deal with while I’m out walking my kids to school.

  • Jolene Stewart September 3, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I would have shot the dog too! Why was he even called if the dog was on its front porch? What crap! If the dog attacked him he had every right to defend himself anyway possible! Good job StG PD for doing your jobs.

  • Craig September 3, 2013 at 7:59 am

    WHY would anyone expect money to be allotted towards an animal control officer on weekends, holidays and after hours? You all KNOW that money went to the carousel and the dust counting machine. Now, get a grip and complain about something real….like the weather.

  • KTW September 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Terri and Someone with a connection, I have had the exact same experience when trying to help out a lost/stray dog. It sickens me that an officer who is not trained to deal with animals is sent out rather than having someone on call with the shelter to do their job. Three shots does seem excessive. I feel bad for the dog but I also feel bad for the officer who may have not had a clue as to how to respond to a dog who presented as aggressive. I should also mention I live in this neck of the woods and having dogs run off leash is a problem and has been since I moved here seven years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if the comment about several dogs running loose and this one just happened to be outside when the officer showed up is true. I’m sorry your dog got hurt, Sherril.

  • Scott September 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

    It’s a good thing he didn’t shoot a human, these comments would really be out of control.

  • DoubleTap September 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

    WOW…3 shots and the dog lives??? I think that officer needs some range time. I don’t think I’d want him out on the streets with a gun PERIOD!!!
    Good job City of St. Goerge…..”never let a crisis go to waste…”

  • Tyler September 3, 2013 at 10:53 am

    People care more about dogs than humans in Utah. No one cares about the continual child rape in Hildale or Colorado City but heaven forbid someone shoot a dog that is attacking them. What a Godless state.

    • Kristin Schwiermann September 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Oh but Tyler they keep those girls on a leash and in their yard!

  • Fed up September 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Boy I did not realize we had so many village idiots in the City of St. George. It is truly pathetic when an article about a dog receives more comments than an Officer who loses his life to a senseless act of violence. God help the community that cares more about an animal that is genetically predisposed to violence than a family that loses a husband and a father. You people make me sick! God bless the Johnson family in this difficult time!

  • Truth September 3, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    38 comments about a dog getting shot and 2 about a Police Officer being murdered?? You people are ridiculous!!!!!

    • Craig September 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Check the dates that the articles were posted. That should give you a clue. This article was up prior to the article about Sgt. Johnson.

      • Scott September 4, 2013 at 9:53 am

        Doesn’t matter. The comments on the story of the officer being gunned down would “never” be more than the death of a dog, or conditions of a dog pound. What’s up with that?

        • Craig September 4, 2013 at 11:14 am

          This has been up longer giving people more time to comment.

  • Paul September 4, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I have found the deputies of the Washington County Police force to be very respectful officers and always professional. The St. George city force, however, seem to have a troubling number of hotheads with authoritarian control issues. Any discharge of a firearm in a residential community should only be in a LIFE or DEATH situation. Knowing it was an animal control issue, there are pepper sprays that would have worked just fine to disable this dog. Even a taser. When they are wrong, they are wrong and need to be held accountable just like you and I would be. In fact, because they are in the position they are in, they should be held to an even higher standard of self control and responding under pressure.

    Anyone remember the out of control officer who killed two women on River Rd. in his high pursuit chase of who — a SPEEDER! A TRAFFIC VIOLATOR! Wow! two women died over a traffic violation. C’mon, stop worshiping these guys and covering for them like brain dead robots. Get out of your bubble and look at the disturbing trend around the country of out of control boys in blue who shoot first and let their superiors cover for them after.

    • Paul September 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

      “The decline of civilization will be carried out by those who are… Just. Doing. Their. Jobs!” (UK)

  • Better Idea September 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Maybe the cop should have shot the owner of the dog, rather than the dog itself.

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