A loose pit bull was shot and killed by a Prince George’s County officer Tuesday after police received several calls for help to restrain the dog.
Around 4:30 p.m. on Lorring Drive in District Heights, police responded to an “aggressive dog” call at an apartment complex, said Lt. Bill Alexander, a county police spokesman.
Alexander said the call was made by apartment management at Doral Terrace Apartments on Lorring Drive, when a representative told police there was an aggressive dog that was charging at the apartment’s security officers.
“A school bus was either there or imminently arriving, so they wanted to ensure the school kids’ safety,” Alexander said.
The two security guards were unarmed and were attempting to corral the dog.
After the police officer arrived, the dog aggressively charged toward the security guards and the officer, so the officer fired his gun, Alexander said. He said the dog died from a gunshot wound on the scene.
Police do not yet know the dog’s owner, Alexander said.
“The investigation is still ongoing and ultimately the owner could be charged if they are identified,” he said.
According to police officials, officers added animal-restraint training to their in-service training classes in May 2012. Additionally, the department received 75 animal-restraint poles, one for each squad.
Alexander said the responding officer was not equipped with one of the 4-foot metal restraint poles and he did not know if the officer had completed the “Dealing with Aggressive Animals” course yet as part of annual in-service training.
The course came about when the department decided to promote non-lethal tactics to handle aggressive animals, in part, after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed by Berwyn Heights mayor Cheye Calvo to the county.
Calvo’s home was raided by a county SWAT team in July 2008, after a package of marijuana was mailed to his home to be intercepted in a smuggling operation in which Calvo and his family were later cleared of any involvement. Calvo, who was never charged, said SWAT team members entered his home and shot his two dogs, Chase and Payton.
“This underscores the need to get training for as many officers as possible,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve never been one to say lethal force is never an option, but I would question if there was an actual threat or were other options available. Sometimes lethal force is necessary, the question is if there was another option.”
The unnamed officer in Tuesday’s incident has not been suspended but will face a discharge of firearms investigation, a standard procedure for anytime an officer fires their service weapon, Alexander said.
“All evidence has so far suggested that the officer was not at fault,” he said.
A representative at Doral Terrace declined to comment.