March 17, 2001 Saturday Sunrise Edition Copyright 2001 The Oregonian The Oregonian March 17, 2001 Saturday Sunrise Edition
(GRESHAM, Ore.) -- A police officer shot and killed a charging pit bull dog in the Rockwood area Friday after two of the breed cornered a woman and reportedly turned on officers when they arrived to help.
Police Chief Bernie Giusto said the dogs were "very aggressive, very threatening," and that the officer had no choice but to shoot. Officer Tiel Whitney shot one of them once with her handgun.
Giusto said the dogs had forced another officer, Jason Servo, into his patrol car. One of the pit bulls then leaped at Whitney and was airborne when she fired at a distance of two or three feet, Giusto said.
"If we don't take that kind of action, who knows what's next," he said.
The second dog ran under the porch of its owner's house after the shot was fired. Multnomah County animal control officers closed a gate to secure the dog and notified the owner about the situation.
Officers eventually allowed the dogs' owner, Ron Clark, to take the second pit bull with him. Clark is in the process of moving to Clackamas County and wasn't present when the attack occurred, said John Rowton, spokesman for the animal control agency.
The incident, at Northeast 181st Avenue and Ash Street, began when a woman working on a house walked outside and was chased by the neighboring dogs. She grabbed a shopping cart and managed to keep it between her and the dogs as she retreated behind a fence, Rowton said.
Complaints had been filed in the past about the dog that was shot, Rowton said. The animal control agency could order the owner to keep the surviving dog behind a 6-foot chain link fence or muzzled and on a leash when it is off the property, Rowton said. About 2,000 Multnomah County dogs are classified at some stage of dangerousness, he said.
Rowton said the Multnomah County classification would not follow the dog into another county, but that his agency would notify Clackamas County that a potentially dangerous animal had moved into their area.