AURORA CO - 2 AMERICAN BULLDOGS "SOMEHOW" ESCAPED THEIR OWNER'S PROPERTY AND KNOCKED A WOMAN DOWN WHO WAS WALKING HER DACHSHUND - AN OFFICER SHOT 1 OF THEM WHEN IT BECAME AGGRESSIVE TO HIM
An Aurora woman said that police gunned down her dog Saturday evening after the animal escaped her yard.
Valeria Rodriguez Augina said Angelo, a 60-pound AMERICAN BULLDOG, and Luna, his mother, were missing when she arrived at her home near Sable Boulevard and Cimarron Circle, so she went looking for them.
According to a police report of the incident, police arrived after two people reported that a woman had been attacked, was on the ground and that the dogs were chasing people.
Officer Mike Hawkins reported that when he responded to the call, the dogs ran up to his car and jumped onto it a couple of times barking at him. “In my 23 years of police experience, I had never seen dogs do this.”
When he got out of the car, one of the animals approached him growling, with its head down and ears pinned back. “Based on police in-service training I’ve attended within the last five years, I recognized this behavior as a dog that was about to attack me. I was frightened. I was afraid that this dog could do serious bodily injury to me.”
He fired a shot gun, aiming at the dog’s center mass, and the dog ran off yelping, he wrote. He found the woman, Patricia Buster, who had been attacked, sitting on the ground with her dachshund. “She appeared visibly frightened and upset. I noted blood smears on her arms.”
She said she was walking her dog on a leash when the dogs accosted her. “She picked up her dog, who was frightened, and had scratched her forearms,” Hawkins said.
Buster couldn’t be reached for comment.
A police officer told Rodriguez Augina that police shot Angelo round 9:30 p.m. at an apartment complex near her home, she said. Aurora Animal Control later came to her house and told her that one of her dogs roughed up another dog before the shooting, Rodriguez said Thursday.
Police issued her a summons.
Lilli Romero, 19, said she was leaving a party in the area with her 14-year-old sister when she saw police confronting the dog. “The dog was pushing himself against a door. He wasn’t being aggressive, and I yelled at the cops to leave the dog alone. He is really scared.”
Police were pointing guns at the animal, she said.
She left before the animal was shot, she said. “I didn’t want to get in trouble, and my sister wanted to go. I didn’t want her to get hurt.”
Rodriguez Augina said the Animal Control officer told her the dog was being treated at the VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital emergency room. “The vet told me he was shot in the face. His jaw was shattered, and the bullet went through his throat. I was there when he was put down.”
Angelo and Luna resemble pit bulls, a breed that is illegal to keep in Aurora.
“I always had problems with people saying they were pit bulls, so I went to animal control and they did a physical on Angelo, and determined that he wasn’t,” Rodriguez said.
A DNA test determined that Luna wasn’t a pit bull either, she said.
The act also calls for police to use less than lethal methods to trap, rather than shoot dogs, whenever possible. “Dogs can be aggressive, but I have been involved in aggressive dog attacks on smaller dogs, and I was able to get out of the situation with the use of pepper spray,” Justice said.
But Hawkins wrote: “It is my considered opinion that this act was necessary to defend myself. I do not believe a taser, pepper spray or less lethal shotgun would have been effective.”
An affidavit dated October 17, 2005 from longtime “American bulldog” breeder John D. Johnson, widely credited with originating the "American bully" line, leaves no doubt that “American bulldogs” are pit bulls within the Aurora definition. Testified Johnson, “Originally, my dogs were registered with the National Kennel Club as ‘American [Pit] Bulldogs,’” but Johnson later split with the NKC and began registering his dogs with the Animal Research Foundation, formed in 1947 by Tom D. Stodghill (1903-1989), of Quinlan, Texas. Stodghill created many registries for animals not recognized by older breed fancies, including fighting dogs and gamecocks. He also published Stodghill’s Animal Research Magazine. Wrote Johnson to Stodghill’s Animal Research Magazine in 1980, “The American Bulldog is the same dog that was developed in England in the 12th century by the meat packers, to catch large bulls to kill for meat… Then they started bull baiting with them, and they then were called ‘Bull Baiting Dogs.’ Later, they were registered as ‘English Bulldogs.’ They also were ‘pit’ fought over there [ England ], against each other, badgers, lions, and anything that would fight. They were brought over here [ America ] in the 17th century…In the 18th century, England outlawed all types of fighting, and they were no longer needed in their present form, so they bred them down in size…We kept our bulldogs in the [original] large state, and I have developed them even larger." Claimed Johnson, “The ‘Bull Terrier’ is a cross between the ‘English Terrier’ and ‘English Bulldog’ (60% ‘Terrier’ and 40 percent ‘Bulldog’). The [‘American] Staffordshire Terrier’ is 50% ‘English Bulldog’ and 50% ‘English Terrier’; the ‘American [Pit] Bull Terrier’ is a cross between the two types.”