Report: officers justified in shooting dog
Two Cape Coral police officers were justified in shooting what was reportedly an aggressive pit bull, according to an internal affairs investigation.
Officers Jason Shutts, Ryan Tronchet and James Cannon were dispatched to a residence at 302 N.E. 10th Terrace at about 1 a.m. Sunday in reference to a disturbance. A woman had called 911 and stated that police were needed at the home, before stating “forget it” and hanging up, according to the report.
Upon arrival, Shutts knocked on the front door, according to the report. When the residents opened the door, the pit bull pushed past its owners and exited the home. Shutts and Tronchet fired a total of three shots at the dog, claiming that it had charged at Tronchet in an aggressive manner while growling and showing its teeth.
Carla Moore, the dog’s owner, claimed that her pit bull urinated near a bush and then walked toward one officer while wagging its tail in a friendly manner. At that point, the two officers fired their weapons at the dog, she reported.
The pit bull, Chief, was shot in the jaw. Moore took the dog to an emergency veterinarian, and learned that he had severe jaw and tongue injuries requiring $4,600 in reconstructive surgery. Reportedly told that Chief may not be able to chew a bone or hold a ball in its mouth again, Moore euthanized the animal.
Detective Sgt. Allan Kolak of the CCPD’s Professional Standards Bureau conducted the internal affairs investigation. After taking statements from the officers and the residents, and speaking with Lee County Animal Control Services, he determined the officers were justified in firing at the pit bull.
According to the report, Moore’s daughter provided a written statement to police early Sunday morning. Amanda Holley wrote that Chief went toward an officer and the officer backed up. Chief still went in the officer’s direction.
“The officer appeared to be afraid of the dog attacking him and he fired his gun, not knowing if he was vicious, in self defense,” Holley wrote.
Shutts and Tronchet were found in accordance with department policy.
“All officers believed that Officer Tronchet was in imminent danger of being attacked by the pit bull,” Kolak wrote in the report. “Officer Tronchet even backed up in an attempt to get away from the animal to no avail.”
“Because of the safety risk to Officer Tronchet, both Officers Shutts and Tronchet discharged their firearms in an attempt to stop the attacking pit-bull,” he wrote. “All officers involved stated that unfortunately due to the actions of the pit bull ‘Chief’ acting in an aggressive manner left them with no alternative but to discharge their firearm.”
According to Lee County Animal Services, officers have been to Moore’s residence six times since 2009 in reference to animal complaints, in which two had been confirmed to be in relation to Chief.
Attempts to contact Moore and Holley were unsuccessful Thursday.