Tennessee family heartbroken after deputy shoots, kills pit bull

WATE photo

STRAWBERRY PLAINS, TN (WATE) – The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a deputy shot and killed a pit bull early Thursday morning.

“I lost everything when I lost that dog – protection, a friend. They’re your kids. They’re your whole life, and I don’t know what we’re going to do. We cannot replace that dog,” dog owner Kenny Bailey said.

The sheriff’s office released a statement, stating deputies were called to a home on Thorngrove Pike just before 5 a.m. for a 911 hang up call. Officers said they parked away from the mobile home for safety reasons and knocked on the side of the residents.

The release went on to say three unrestrained dogs ran from the back of the home and allege one pit bull charged the officers. Body cam video shows an officer shot the dog and killed it, opening fire 40 feet from the dog and nine feet from a child’s bedroom. The dog suffered gunshot wounds to its back and the back of its head.

“Reaching for a gun for your security is easy to do, but pulling the trigger should be hard, because there’s no taking it back,” Bailey said.

Bailey said his wife was using her phone as a flashlight and accidentally dialed 911. Deputies said Bailey told them the pit bull was police trained, but admitted later in the video he would have shot the dog also.

The sheriff’s office took another report on October 18 of a man who was bitten by a pit bull at the same address, but Bailey said the man was only scratched.  There have also been calls to the home about domestic matters, but the owner said they were never physical.

Bailey said he saw the shooting as it was happening on surveillance video. His children witnessed it before their eyes from the front porch. He said his family is devastated and traumatized by their loss, and hopes lessons will be learned from the tragedy.

“Some more training in these types of situations. 20, 30 years ago, it was just a dog. But we’re a society today that has grown to realize that these dogs are more than a dog,” Bailey said. “They’re a part of people’s family. These dogs are people’s protection. These dogs are people’s best friends.”

Both officers involved in the incident remain on duty as the investigation continues.

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