A Fort Lauderdale, Florida officer was forced to shoot two pit bulls Friday after the animals allegedly escaped a nearby home and killed a neighbor’s cat, news sources report. Both dogs reportedly charged the officer, prompted him to shoot in self-defense; one of the dogs sustained non-life threatening injuries, while the other died. The officer, who was not identified publicly, was not injured. An investigation to determine whether the dogs’ owners will face criminal charges is currently underway. It is not yet known whether the family who lost their cat plans on filing charges.
Reports say the incident occurred Friday morning along Southwest 18th Avenue and 22nd Street in South Fort Lauderdale, near Edgewood. Emergency dispatch sent an officer to the area after hearing reports of a loose pit bull killing a neighborhood cat, reports say. The officer arrived, set out on foot, and quickly found the wandering pit bull. According to the officer, the animal charged him and he was forced to retreat.
“When the officer was attempting to retreat to his vehicle for a position of safety, is when the dog was still viciously charging him. The officer resorted to shooting in the direction of the dog. The dog was injured,” a police spokesperson told reporters.
The injured dog then fled to a nearby home’s back yard and the officer pursued, sources say. The dog retreated behind an open gate and, as the officer attempted to close it, he was confronted by another loose pit bull. “So the second dog then started charging him through the fence,” the police spokesperson said. . “The dog latched on to the officer’s boot, and the officer was unable to free his boot.” Afraid for his safety, the officer opened fire on the second dog and fatally wounded it, sources say.
Animal control responded to the scene following the incident and transported the injured dog to their clinic. Reports say the animal will survive its injury and is healthy enough to walk on its own. While roaming, one of the loose pit bulls allegedly attacked and killed a neighbor’s cat. The cat’s owners told reporters the death won’t come easy for their young daughter.
Robert French, another neighbor, told reporters that the dogs escape the owner’s home frequently. “They’ve been roaming the neighborhood too often,” he said. “They get away down there quite often and too often. This may put a stop to it.”
French also added that this is not the first time the pit bulls killed a neighborhood cat either. “Occasionally, when you go down the street, you see animals, that you see haven’t been hit by a car,” he said. “They’ve been mauled or something, and the first thing that comes to mind are these two pit bulls.”
During the incident, the pit bull’s owners were not home. Police waited for a while following the incident, but no one showed up. It remains to be seen whether the owners will be charged in the incident or sued for the death of the cat.