OTTAWA — An Ottawa police officer shot a pitbull-type dog Wednesday morning after responding to a call related to a dispute between neighbours in a Gloucester housing development.
The dog is expected to survive after the shooting in the 2700 block of Equus Way, near Hunt Club Road and Bank Street.
The dog’s owner said the dog was shot unnecessarily after it followed a fleeing female officer, but another witness — the opposing neighbour — said the dog sped past the officer before turning as if to run at her again.
Police said the officer had responded to a report of a disturbance at about 10 a.m.
Patrice Daigle, who lives in the housing development, said she called police after her neighbours, the dog’s owners, were “hammering” on her door, where they had taped a letter complaining that she was encroaching on their parking space.
Daigle accused her neighbours of trying to intimidate her and terrorizing the neighbourhood with their dogs.
However, the injured dog’s owner, Jamie Goyette, 27, said he and his sister, Lisa Goyette, wanted to speak to Daigle about the parking issue, but she had refused to answer her door.
They stuck a polite letter on the door, they said.
Lisa Goyette said she and her brother spoke to the two police officers who responded to the call before returning to their unit to get some information for one of the officers.
The dog, named Shorty, snuck through the door and ran outside, they said. The officer started to run and Shorty followed, they said.
“I was right behind the dog because I saw her squeak out the door,” Jamie Goyette said.
The dog followed the officer, barking, but did not lunge at her, they said.
A few metres from their door, the officer fired two shots, at least one of which hit the dog in the chest, they said.
“I don’t see how a dog that’s three to five feet away, barking at you, is a threat,” said Lisa Goyette, 24, who runs a home daycare and noted there are several children in the neighbourhood, including her two sons.
The officer should have stood still or used other tactics such as yelling, kicking, or spraying the dog with pepper spray, she said.
Their neighbour, who was talking to the other officer at the time of the shooting, had a different view of the incident.
Daigle said the dog chased after the officer and “overshot her” before turning and heading toward the officer again.
“I think it was going for her, but it was going so fast, it went past. It turned around to come back at her, she shot it,” Daigle, 54, said.
Nobody wants to shoot a dog, “but things had gotten way out of control,” Daigle said.
Witnesses said the officer claimed the dog bit her immediately after the shooting. The Goyettes said the dog did not bite her.
The officer did not receive any serious injuries. As is standard practice, the Professional Standards Section is investigating the shooting.
Police would not immediately confirm how many shots were fired, nor how many hit the dog. No charges were laid, according to police.
Other neighbours said they had seen up to four dogs, including at least one other pitbull-type dog, at the rowhouse unit where the Goyettes live.
Neighbours said they often heard the dogs barking. The animals had gotten loose in the past and caused problems for area residents, neighbours said.
“I am not against pitbulls, they can be wonderful dogs, but … they’re using them for their own purposes,” Daigle said. “They’re terrorizing the neighbourhood.”
The Goyettes said Shorty, a small dog, was harmless. Jamie Goyette said he has had the dog for eight years and she was friendly with children.
Lisa Goyette said the dogs were never let out of the house without leashes and only one person had complained to officials about their barking.