Spokane Valley Police investigators continue to sift through the circumstances last week where an officer shot and killed a dog.
On Aug. 24, officers were called to the area of 18900 E. Bloom Circle on a welfare check, said Deputy Craig Chamberlin, police spokesman. The complainant called and said that about a minute prior, there was an adult male in his front yard that appeared lost.
Deputies responded to the area and located an adult male near the complainant’s residence. According to deputies, the male was extremely intoxicated and the decision was made to give him a courtesy ride to his residence on East Sprague. Deputies provided the male with a courtesy transport and arrived at his residence at 2:44 a.m.
On Aug. 27, Deputy Ryan Smith was covering the front desk at the Valley Precinct while the deputy assigned to the front desk ate lunch. The assigned deputy told Smith that earlier in the day, the male from the Aug. 24 incident came to the precinct asking if his hat and keys were there. Later, the complainant brought a hat and a set of keys in and told Deputy Smith he found them and assumed they belonged to the male that was in his yard.
Smith found the address from the call and was able to find a phone number to the residence from an incident in 2012 and made multiple attempts calling the residence. All the calls went to a generic voice mail, which made Smith question if it was still an accurate number to the residence. Chamberlin said Smith decided to take the items to the residence and avoid the owner the hassle of having to pick the items up at police property.
Smith arrived at the residence at about 4:50 p.m. and parked in the driveway in front of the gate, which was similar to a cattle gate. Smith sounded his air horn one time for about one to two seconds. There was no response at the residence. Smith could see two dogs barking on the east side of the home and were staying in one place and assumed there was an invisible dog fence preventing them from coming any further. Smith apparently did not feel comfortable leaving the keys next to the gate because it was close to the roadway and he did not want someone to come by and possibly take them. Smith saw a door on the south side of the residence and decided to leave the hat and keys in front of the door.
As the deputy approached the residence, he saw a white line running across the driveway in front of the dogs. Smith assumed it was an invisible dog fence and continued toward the south side door.
Prior to reaching the white line in the driveway, the larger of the two dogs ran at Smith. He had already taken his expandable baton out of his duty belt in case the dogs charged him. The larger of the two dogs charged Smith. In an attempt to keep the dog from biting him as he retreated, Smith attempted to strike the dog with his baton. The dog was ultimately able to flank Smith’s right side and bite him on his upper-right hamstring.
Smith reportedly continued to back away from the dog, tripped and fell on his back. The dog bit under Smith’s left bicep. Seeing no other alternative and fearing for his safety, Smith fired three rounds from his service weapon striking the dog at least one time. The dog released Smith’s arm and ran toward the house. Medics and Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service were requested to the scene. The dog later died from the gunshot wound.
Smith was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for both dog bites. Smith’s wound on his left bicep required stitches. The emergency room physician chose not to suture the wound on Smith’s right hamstring to avoid infection.
Major Crimes detectives and Forensics responded and documented the scene. According to SCRAPS, the dog’s Certificate of Vaccination lists the dog as a 75-pound American pit bull.