Second dog in police attack ruled vicious

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by Stephanie Zepelin

NWCN.com

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 5:21 AM

NAMPA -- Police say an officer made a split second decision when he shot and killed an attacking dog last week during a routine welfare check at a Nampa home.

Public protest followed the shooting, and the resulting fallout caused police to release a graphic video of the white pit bull acting aggressively and threatening the officer. The video was captured by an officer's body camera.

A second dog involved in the attack wasn't shot, but police and others believe that pit bull also poses a threat to the public.

Nampa Police alerted a civic group that handle's vicious dog cases to the situation. Members of Nampa's Vicious Dog Board say the second dog  -- and its owner -- won't be dealt with lightly.

"The people's dog board of Nampa made a ruling," explained board chairperson Joe Bell. "It did come back as being declared vicious."

In fact, the brown dog seen in the video was declared vicious in a 3-to-2 vote by the board.

"It breaks my heart to see an animal even in this position," said Bell, who added that the board's goal is keep other people and animals safe. "What we ask in questioning is, 'Is your dog licensed? Is it up on rabies? Are the vaccines in play?'" Bell said.

The board also tries to make sure the dog's owner is responsible in the future. Owners of dogs that are found to be vicious must put up a six-foot fence with a self-latching gate at their property, put a muzzle on the dog in public, get insurance on the dog, and get the dog tattooed so animal control officers can match it to their database.

Bell said the board helps people in Nampa know they are responsible for their dog's behavior, and can be cited for it. However, Bell also said he's not "singling out" any breed, including pit bulls. He said some of the worst bites he has seen have been from smaller dogs.

Bell says he's not blaming the dogs, and says Nampa's dog board is only part of the solution.

"Unfortunately there will always be dog issues," Bell said. "You're never going to eradicate them regardless the resources you throw at it."

The dog's owner can still appeal the board's decision. Bell says the owner was very apologetic at the hearing with the board.

The board has dealt with eight cases of vicious dogs this year, two of which involved police. Bell said that is an increase from last year.

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