Boise Police: Officer fired 5 shots at aggressive dog

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Boise Police: Officer fired 5 shots at aggressive dog

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 9:20 AM

BOISE -- A family's dog is recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted by a Boise police officer who says he was justified in protecting himself from the animal.

Officers with the Boise Police Department report the officer fired five shots at the dog, who they say was growling aggressively and running toward two officers conducting a welfare check on Sunday at a Boise home.

However, the dog's owner has a different story about what happened.

It was just after 10 a.m. Sunday when a neighbor called police to report yelling from Alese Lortz's home.

Lortz admits she was having a panic attack at the time because of a medical condition.

She says she had no idea officers were at her home until she heard five gunshots, then found her dog, Scrappy Doo, covered in blood.

Alese and Russel Lortz tell us Scrappy Doo was shot just outside their gated yard. The Lortzs say it's a miracle their dog is alive and back home recovering.

KTVB was there when Scrappy Doo returned from the vet with the bullet still inside him.

"All of a sudden we just heard 'bam, bam, bam, bam, bam' and I heard my dog yip," said Alese Lortz . Alese says when she found Scrappy Doo in the yard, she thought he was dying.

"All we heard was gunshots, and we came out and he was shot, he was bleeding," Lortz told KTVB. "...It looked like it went through his heart, but luckily it went through his shoulder."

The Lortzs maintain their gate was closed, and their dog contained in the yard when officers arrived.

Boise Police officers say the gate was open.

Police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower says as the two officers walked up to the house, the dog growled, ran through the gate and charged at them, looking like he was going to attack.

Police say both officers pulled their weapons and one fired five shots. Three bullets hit the family's car, including two tires, and one hit Scrappy Doo.

"He can look scary, I'm not going to say he can't look scary, but I've never seen him go after anybody, ever," said Alese Lortz.

The Lortzs say their 5-year-old dog is not aggressive, but they understand the officers concerns. However, they're disappointed the officer reacted by using a gun.

"I don't think lethal force should be used on people's pets in close proximity to people's houses," said Russell Lortz.

The Lortzs also say they're grateful the bullet didn't take their dog's life, and they hope the incident changes police policy when it comes to pets.

Boise Police say one of the officers involved has done extensive training with the canine unit and knows when a dog is about to bite.

The neighbor who called police, told them the gate had been open and the dog had been out on the street before the officers arrived.

Hightower says the officers never opened the gate before the shots were fired.

The officers' supervisor is reviewing this incident.

You may remember a similar case back in October, when a Boise Police officer shot and killed a dog.  An investigation found that officer was justified in shooting the dog.

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