TAMPA, F.L. (WFLA) – A Florida deputy has shot and killed a dog following the Gasparilla parade on Saturday.
According to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office press release, around 6:30 p.m., Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Tampa Police Department mounted units were exiting Bayshore Boulevard near Platt Street when a pit bull, roughly 70 pounds, broke free from a gate its owner had tied the dog to on Bayshore Boulevard.
Deputies say the dog charged at the horses, attempting to attack them three times.
The first time, the dog ran towards a TPD horse, barking and growling at the horse as it tried to bite the horse’s hind legs. A deputy nearby tried to tase the dog but couldn’t get a clear point of contact without potentially tasing the horse, deputies say.
The dog then ran back to the side of the road before running toward the horses a second time, this time at an HCSO horse. The dog tried biting the horse in its sheath area and successfully latched onto the horse on one of its front lower legs.
The dog unlatched and charged at the horse for a third time. Deputy Crystal McClelland, who was riding a separate horse, shot the dog once on the center of its back, causing the dog to run from the horses. The dog ultimately died from its injuries at the scene.
The owner of the dog, who is homeless, was present during the attacks but made no apparent attempts to grab the dog as it attacked the horses, according to deputies.
Following the shooting, the owner began making threatening statements to harm the deputies at the scene and himself, according to a release sent by HCSO. He was Baker Acted. A knife was located in his pocket.
Deputy McClelland has been with HCSO for 26 years, a member of the mounted unit for 18 years, and has no prior shooting incidents.
None of the horses were seriously injured during the attacks.
The shooting remains under investigation.