The Spokesman-Review

Deputy who shot dog thought animals were restrained

One of the wounds suffered by a Deputy Ryan Smith in a recent dog-biting incident. Smith fatally shot the dog. (Spokane County Sheriff's Office courtesy)
One of the wounds suffered by a Deputy Ryan Smith in a recent dog-biting incident. Smith fatally shot the dog. (Spokane County Sheriff's Office courtesy)

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a Spokane Valley man’s dog on Wednesday said he thought the animal was restrained by an invisible fence.

Deputy Ryan Smith killed the dog after it bit him twice, once on the left bicep and once on the right hamstring, a news release from the sheriff’s office said. The bicep wound required stitches.

Smith had gone to a home at 20215 E. Sprague Ave. around 4:50 p.m. to return keys and a hat left at another home nearby during an incident on Sunday morning. A resident from that incident dropped the items off at the Spokane Valley precinct.

Deputy Smith called the home multiple times prior to going there and, once there, sounded his horn to announce his presence, the release said.

Smith saw two dogs barking on the east side of the residence, but since they were staying in one place, he assumed there was an invisible fence preventing them from advancing, the release said. An invisible fence employs buried wiring and shock collars to keep dogs within a confined area.

Smith did not feel comfortable leaving the keys outside the home’s gate because he feared they’d be stolen. He decided to leave the keys outside a door on the home’s south side. As he walked toward the home, he saw a white line running across the driveway in front of the dogs and again thought they were restrained.

According to homeowner Brad Beck, Smith’s assumption was correct. The dogs were wearing shock collars and an invisible fence was in use.

When Smith began walking toward the door, the larger of the two dogs charged him, the release said. Smith attempted to strike the dog with his baton, but it bit him on the leg. Smith backed away, tripped and fell on his back. The dog then bit him on the arm. Smith then fired three rounds from his weapon. The dog later died from the gunshot wound.

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service said the dog’s vaccination certificate lists the animal as a 75-pound American pit bull, the release said.

The family has disputed that, saying the dog, named Cash (pictured above) was a Siberian Husky mix. Beck questioned why the deputy didn’t use Mace on the dog and said the officer was trespassing and should have left the keys by the gate.



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