Port Lavaca officer found to be justified in killing dog

A Port Lavaca police officer shot and killed a man's dog Friday while performing a welfare check in a brushy area.

A Port Lavaca police investigation has determined an officer was justified in killing a dog last week.

About 3:20 p.m. Friday, two Port Lavaca Police Department officers were dispatched to a brushy bayfront area by East South and South Virginia streets in Port Lavaca, said Police Chief Colin Rangnow.

They were asked to check on the welfare of a man living there, he said.

As the officers were walking into the thicket, two dogs emerged unleashed from the brush, the police chief said.

Rangnow said the larger of the two dogs was barking and acting aggressively.

One of the officers fired four shots, killing the dog after it charged them, he said. No one was bitten or injured during the shooting.

An internal investigation by a detective in the department found the officers were prevented from retreating from the dogs by a chain-link fence and the bayfront. It also found the officers did not violate the department’s policy in their use of force.

Investigations are performed any time officers discharge firearms in the course of duty.

Failing to leash a pet dog is a ticketable offense in Port Lavaca, said Rangnow, who also noted there were no citations issued against the dogs’ owner, who could not be reached for comment.

“There was very little area for this officer to retreat,” Rangnow said. “The officers didn’t have a whole lot of options left.”

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

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Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

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