Animal Services Trying To Avoid More Dog Shootings

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A week has passed since a dog was shot and killed in small Washoe Valley neighborhood. As authorities continue an investigation, they're determined to try and prevent a similar incident from happening again in the future.

"It's very prudent that people think twice before using deadly force against an animal they see at large," says Lieutenant Mitch Schneider with Washoe County Regional Animal Services.

Schneider says his department gets nearly one thousand calls a year, from people complaining about aggressive dogs. And while he says things are improving, he's still concerned about owners failing to take responsibility.

"According to the law, you have an absolute duty to control your pet," says Schneider. "And if that pet is out there and it hurts somebody or causes an accident, then they are liable and will be held accountable as well."

One of many issues at hand stemming from last week's dog killing is whether or not it was the first time the animal had gotten loose. The pet's owner says it was, and the dog posed no threat..But the owner of the business insists the dog was a constant menace. Schneider says even if a person feels threatened by a dog, force is rarely justified.

"The absolute last resort is using deadly force. We kind of have to start thinking about pets the same way we would about taking a human life."

Anyone who encounters a dangerous or aggressive dog is encouraged to either walk away or try to restrain the animal. Schneider says calls to Animal Services are always appreciated, so trained professionals can handle a situation before it gets out of control.

"We would like to be proactive and have people report these things when they see it. So we can deal with it before something goes wrong."