Police say officer shoots 'aggressive' dog in McMinnville; owner threatens legal action
A McMinnville woman told KATU Friday that she's considering legal action against police after an officer shot her dog to death.
Police said the animal and another dog the woman owns got loose and frightened multiple people Wednesday before attacking an officer.
Officers said they tried multiple times to entice the dogs with treats after they frightened several people with aggressive behavior. But they said an officer ultimately opened fire with minimal time to react when both animals attacked him.
A dog named Daisy is the only black Labrador left in a home on Northeast 19th Street after police shot her son, Oso, to death on Wednesday.
Maria Brenda Morales, the owner of the two dogs, said she was at work when it happened. She said she got the news around noon from her 18-year-old son.
"He woke up to a gunshot and he looked outside his window and he saw the dog laying on the ground and seeing the police officer keep shooting the dog," Morales said. "I'm angry. I'm very angry."
A neighbor who claims she witnessed the incident told KATU the officer shot once, missed then fired two more rounds hitting the dog. She said the dog was not being aggressive.
Officers dispute that claim.
In a news release, police said the dogs got loose and were spotted running through traffic on a busy road about a half-mile away.
Morales believes the dogs jumped over a 5-foot tall backyard fence. She said they did so once before on July 4.
“They got scared of the fireworks. We had ‘em outside," Morales explained. "We weren’t home. We were at my parents’.”
Morales said her husband is redoing a portion of the fence, which was down Friday afternoon, but that it was up at the time of the incident on Wednesday.
Police said two people reported seeing the dogs in traffic and a couple of them tried to corral them with no luck. They said a witness told dispatchers one of the dogs was aggressive, trying to get into their vehicle after they drove down the street.
"We've had him since he was born," Morales said. "He's never been aggressive towards anybody."
Morales said Daisy has not been aggressive either.
Police said two officers showed up, trying unsuccessfully to contain the dogs by luring them with treats. They said the dogs ran away and a postal worker told them at one point the aggressive animals cornered her and she pulled out dog spray.
Later, police said a lone officer encountered the dogs near Morales's home and they both aggressively charged towards him.
They said the officer fired multiple rounds killing Oso as Daisy ran away.
"Why shoot it? That's my whole thing. Why shoot the dog?" Morales asked.
She said she'd understand if the officer used non-lethal force like a spray or even hitting the dog.
A KATU reporter asked police why non-lethal force wasn't used and other questions starting Friday morning and did not immediately receive answers.
Starting July 1, police in McMinnville became responsible for dog control duties after Yamhill County Animal Services made budget cutbacks.
Morales said officers did not cite her over the behavior of the two dogs and that she hasn't been cited in the past. Police would not confirm her claims.
Online court records accessible to KATU do not list city code violations and most city offices were closed Friday in observance of Veterans Day. A police sergeant said he would try to get answers to KATU's questions but ultimately did not do so.