A Jeannette dog owner claims that a police officer "overreacted" when he shot and killed a 150-pound Rottweiler that wandered from its yard Saturday.
But police said the shooting was justified because neighbors of the dog, Rocky, were fearful about leaving their homes along Scott Avenue and the canine "lunged" three times at Cpl. Brad Shepler as he and an animal control officer attempted to place the dog in a confinement noose.
"They tried to place the dog in a noose three times, and I have the officer and the animal control officer both telling me that the dog came at them three times," said police Chief Jeff Stahl.
"Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do but put the dog down. We were responding to a call that people and their children were afraid to leave their homes because the dog was running loose there," Stahl said.
But the dog's owner, Bob Petrillo, said Rocky was not vicious and played with neighborhood children.
"I'm not saying the policeman is a bad guy, but in this case I believe there was no need to shoot him and I think the incident needs to be brought to light," said Petrillo, of 707 Scott Ave.
Petrillo said he bathed Rocky about 3:30 p.m. before he laid down to take a nap.
"I guess Rocky jumped up against the door and unlocked the handle door. Rocky went down and played with some neighborhood kids and was crossing the street when police arrived," Petrillo said.
Petrillo said he heard from neighbors that Shepler left his car door open and Rocky jumped inside.
"Why didn't he just close the door and they would have had him contained? Instead, the officer began kicking on the windows and door of the car to get him out and he pooped on the seat and ran," Petrillo said.
Petrillo said Shepler and an animal control officer chased Rocky about one-quarter mile before the shot was fired. He said the dog was shot in the back of his head.
"It's a shame because it was unnecessary," Petrillo said of the shooting of his 22-month-old dog.
However, Stahl said, police have concluded the shooting was justified.