COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — An officer said he was forced to shoot a dog Sunday after he could not stop it from attacking another canine.
But the owner of the dog that was shot believes the officer could have found another way to break up the fight and now wants the Cottonwood Heights Police Department to foot the veterinarian bill.
Furthermore, Nova Guymon believes her dog was in the right.
"I think he did nothing wrong by attacking a dog in his own yard," she said.
Police, however, have a different story, saying Guymon's dog attacked another dog that was on a leash and being walked on the sidewalk by its owner, not one that was running loose.
The incident happened about 5 p.m. Sunday, when a border collie was being walked by its owner in a circle near 2500 East and 8030 South. A pit bull attacked the dog, said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Gary Young.
Police officer Kevin Wyatt was driving near the area on regular patrol when he heard the commotion.
"He heard people screaming. He sees all them gathered around one dog attacking another dog," Young said. "The pit bull has the border collie by the neck, shaking and grabbing it."
Wyatt attempted to separate the animals by kicking and grabbing the pit bull. He then attempted to use his Taser, but the prongs missed the animal, Young said.
"The pit bull showed no signs of stopping, no matter what they tried," he said.
As the pit bull continued to shake the other dog, Wyatt decided to use his gun and fired one round into the pit bull, he said. The pit bull immediately released its grip and ran off.
Guymon was not home at the time of the incident and did not witness the attack. She got a call from her boyfriend about the shooting and returned home quickly.
"I started cussing, and yelling, 'You shot my dog, in his own yard,'" she said. "His whole white fur was just blood."
Guymon said her granddaughter accidentally let "Red Nose," an almost 2-year-old pit bull, out of the house.
"He bolted, because he seen the dog in the yard," she said. "He doesn't like other dogs. But the other dog was loose in our yard."
Witnesses, however, told police that the collie was being walked on a leash on the sidewalk near the yard. It's possible the collie got dragged into the pit bull's yard during the fight.
After Wyatt attended to the border collie, he followed the blood trail left by the pit bull to his home nearby. After knocking on the door several times, someone answered and had the pit bull wrapped in a towel, Young said.
"Red Nose" was taken to an animal hospital Sunday night and most recently was said to be in critical condition, according to Young.
"Hopefully he'll pull through," Guymon said. "He's not good around other dogs, but he loves people. He loves anybody."
The collie suffered injuries to its neck and an eye where it was bitten, he said.
Guymon believes Wyatt could have tried other methods to separate the animals.
"There's a hose right there, he could have sprayed him. That would have stopped him quickly," she said.
The owners of the pit bull will likely be cited for having an animal at large, Young said. "The obligation is on them to make sure the dog is secure."
Young said it's the responsibility of all dog owners, not just pit bull owners, to keep their animals on leashes when they're outside or out of a secured yard.