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Officer kills pit bull after dogs tree passer-by

A Coeur d’Alene police officer shot and killed a pit bull named Tank after the animal chased a man up a tree Tuesday. The incident comes as city officials are considering banning “vicious” dog breeds.

Michael Bright called the Police Department from his cell phone after the dog bit his sneaker as he scrambled up a tree, Sgt. Christie Wood said. Bright was passing by a home on East Lilly Drive when two pit bulls began chasing him.

Officer Justin Bangs arrived about noon to find the dogs – Tank and Achilles – growling and barking at the base of the tree. The dogs were running loose in an unfenced yard.

As Bangs tried to keep the dogs at bay while Bright got down from the tree, Tank lunged at the officer. Bangs fired three times at the 60-pound animal, killing it.

“No officer wants to shoot a dog, but there was clearly no choice in the situation,” Wood said.

The City Council will decide in September whether to move forward with a ban against breeds such as pit bulls, said Deputy City Attorney Warren Wilson, who is reviewing options for the potential ban.

Consideration of a ban came after a March incident in which a woman’s cat was ripped apart and killed by a pit bull. The cat’s owner, Cari Elmore, asked the city to ban pit bulls.

Some dog owners and trainers argue that the problem is irresponsible pet owners, not breeds.

In the case of Tank, owner Jerod C. Ward was cited for letting his dog run free and for failing to have a city pet license. Reiss M. Ward was cited for the same violations for his dog Achilles, who ran away and was found later.

“They feel it was not a justified shooting. Obviously it was,” Wood said.

Neither dog owner could be reached for comment.

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