Updated 09/04/2012 09:15 PM
Police Open Fire On Charging Pit Bulls
Police officers shot three pit bulls during a raid at a suspected drug house on Rochester's north side. The home at 134 Norton Street had been under surveillance for some time, police said, before search warrants were executed there Tuesday morning.
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When officers break through the front door…
"It does put a little bit of fear in our officers when they make their warrant executions," said Chief James Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department.
They may face illegal weapons and aggressive dogs on the other side.
"The purpose of the dogs is one, to protect the owner and their illegal property,” Sheppard said.
Officers are trained to shoot if attacked.
“You're not going to call animal control; you're not going to wait for them to put a noose around the dog's neck. That gives the owners an opportunity to destroy evidence and that's why we are doing the warrant in the first place,” said Sheppard.
Chris Fitzgerald, Director of Rochester Animal Services, says most of the pit bulls found in the house on Norton Street were puppies and did not display aggressive behavior. Some seemed malnourished.
Animal Control will monitor all of the dogs' behavior to decide if they're candidates for adoption.
"Once an incident happens, it's like a major red flag for that animal," said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald says dogs that have been trained to fight, attack or be aggressive can be rehabilitated.
"That doesn't mean that it's a bad animal or that there's going to 100% be a problem, but that's too much of a risk for a municipality to put in a home setting," Fitzgerald said. "There are several puppies, and if there are no issues with aggression and they get released from an investigation, then we would make our best effort to find them homes."
One man was arrested on a drug charge and Sheppard indicated that there was evidence of dog-fighting at the house.
The injured police officer was treated and released.