Officer shoots vicious dog; additional details released

ST. GEORGE – Police responded to a call of dogs running loose in a neighborhood on Sunday morning. One of the animals reportedly charged at an officer and was shot.

According to a press release from the St. George Police Department, an officer responded to the area of 1500 West and 1400 North in St. George where several neighbors had reported that a number of dogs were running loose. According to the release, the neighbors told police that the dogs had acted aggressively towards them in the past.

This is not the first time,” SGPD Sgt. Sam Despain said. “There’s a history; we’ve been out there before under similar circumstances.”

The responding officer observed four dogs in the area. According to the release, one of the dogs aggressively charged the officer, resulting in the officer using his handgun to fire three rounds at the dog. The third shot stopped the dog and it retreated.

Though shot, the police reported the dog’s injuries were non-life-threatening, and it was taken to the emergency animal clinic by its owner for treatment.

While investigating the incident, police discovered the home of the dog owner had eight dogs residing inside, one of which belonged to another family member.

St. George Animal Control took possession of five of the dogs, including the injured dog. One was left with a family member and two other non-aggressive dogs were left at the residence. St. George city code states that a homeowner must acquire a kennel license if they own more than two dogs. 

The dog owner was cited for having a dog-at-large, failure to control a vicious animal, and for not having a dog license. This case is under review and additional charges may be filed against the homeowner.

Because the officer discharged his firearm, Despain said the incident is being investigated internally by the police department and externally by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. This is common procedure any time an officer is involved in “a significant use of force,” he said.

A woman claiming to be the dog owner commented on the St. George News Facebook page on Monday, following the initial report of the shooting. Initial attempts to contact the woman were unsuccessful. St. George News has since made contact with the dog owner and is pursing her side of this incident. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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


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  • hopeforlife September 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Its so funny that the owner of that dog and her neighbor were on here saying how o shes so responsible with her dog and there has never been a problem. Yet it was her other Neighbors who called the cops on the dog ….WOW and they didnt bother to say nothing about the other 7 dogs that were there …..some people……

  • Amanda Ballif September 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Finally, law enforcement gets the clue that people with more than the legal limit of dogs are breaking the law and putting the community at risk. Way to go St. George Police Department! It’s too bad the owners irresponsibility and lawlessness got that dog killed. Animals deserve better, as do their human counterparts.

  • William Way September 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm


    “Because the officer discharged his firearm, Despain said the incident is being investigated internally by the police department …”

    I thought everything having to do with the St. George Police Department and animal control now required numerous private investigations. In fact isn’t there a rumor floating around that some people even wants a United Nations Resolution condemning the city for it’s handling of animal shelter concerns. I think I heard that they want a several nation team of inspectors to review practices of the shelter to determine if international animal rights were violated.

    At least that’s what I think I heard.

  • Joanna September 5, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the house must stink to high heaven with 8 dogs living in it. YUCK!

    • DoubleTap September 5, 2013 at 11:16 am

      I personally know of some households with 8+ kids that “stink to high heaven”…..

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