RED BLUFF, Calif. - The police department and the Tehama County District Attorney's Office have launched investigations into the shooting of two dogs, one fatal, Sunday morning by a Red Bluff Police Officer.
Officer Jake Dever responded to call on Nelson Drive in Red Bluff about aggressive dogs when he encountered two Saint Bernards loose in the neighborhood.
Red Bluff Police Captain Quintan Ortega said police received three separate reports of two Saint Bernards acting aggressively on that day before the officer arrived.
"When an officer responds to a call like this, we're uncertain about what the circumstances are going to be," Ortega said. "With the aggressive nature of the animals he had a responsibility to protect himself and the neighborhood and the community, and we support his decision."
According to police, when Dever arrived on scene he knew only of the first report. A mother had called to say her 7-year-old daughter was being chased by the dogs. The second call came from a man taking refuge in his car because he said the dogs cornered him in his driveway and barked at him. We spoke with the man off camera today and said if he had a gun at the time he would have shot the dogs. The third report came from a man who said one of the dogs bit him in the leg, however he was not injured.
The owners of the dogs were out of town at the time of the shooting. Neighbors said the Saint Bernards were show dogs. A third dog owned by the same family was still in the house and unharmed.
"No officer goes into a situation and wants to use force, but it's one of the responsibilities that we have," Ortega said. "When an officer faces that situation, he only has a matter of seconds if that to make a decision on what type of force needs to be used."
The first dog was shot in front of a neighbor's home. The second dog, the older of the two, was shot running away according to witnesses.
Several shots were fired, including one that struck a house across the street. The woman who lives there says she believes the only reason why the bullet didn't go completely through the wall and into the couch was that it must have hit a post.
Captain Ortega said while the City of Red Bluff receives about a thousand animal related calls a year, they do not have a typical animal control like many cities do. He said the last response where an animal had to be shot was in 2003.
"It's a very rare occurrence that we get an aggressive animal that force has to be used against," Ortega claimed.
The first dog, the younger Saint Bernard, died on scene. The second dog, the mother of the first, was taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment. Two neighbors said the second dog had also died, but KRCR has been unable to confirm that information.
The Tehama County District Attorney's office is performing their own investigation as well.
One neighbor involved has created a Go-Fund-Me page for the Saint Bernard's veterinary bills and cremation of the two dogs. Click here if you'd like to help.