Police detective shoots and kills dog

Police detective shoots and kills dog »Play Video
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EUGENE, Ore. -- To his owner, 7-year-old Bull Terrier "Spanky" was a calm and loving companion.

"I had this dog for seven years since he was a puppy and I never seen him aggressive toward any human being," said Spanky's owner, Christopher Robinson.

Robinson said Spanky was gentle and never snappy, but the dog Robinson describes is a far cry from the dog a Eugene Police Department detective encountered on Tuesday.

According to neighbors and Robinson, the detective stopped by Robinson's home to talk to him about an unrelated case involving one of his neighbors.

Robinson said he wasn't home at the time but that the detective later told him that as he approached Robinson's home, he noticed that the door was open and that Spanky was in the yard.

According to neighbors, the detective said Spanky began to growl and show his teeth before lunging towards him.

That's when neighbor Jim Clarke said he heard two loud gunshots.

"The dog started charging him, so he fired. It was like boom boom," said Clarke. "We immediately looked out the window to see a dog run by, and it collapsed right there."

Robinson said he came home after a neighbor called to tell him that an officer had just shot his dog. Robinson said aggressive behavior is completely out of character for Spanky.

"I believe it was excessive use of force because he shot him twice," said Robinson. "The only reason I can think he would do something like that is if the officer already has his gun drawn."

Robinson said a neighbor watched as the detective approached the home. According to that neighbor, the detective approached the house with his gun drawn, Robinson said.

Robinson said he believes the detective could have fired warning shots before shooting at the dog, or that he could have gone back to his car.

Eugene police said they were not available to comment on the incident.

According to the Eugene Police Operations Manual, officers are only allowed to shoot when intending to "kill a dangerous or injured animal when other disposition is impractical."

Clarke, the neighbor who heard the shooting, said the detective was forced to make a split second decision.

"You have a human and an animal. If an animal comes after you like that -- and that was a big animal -- if it comes after you and it's growling? I would have probably done the same thing," said Clarke.

Robinson told KVAL News that he plans to bury Spanky on Thursday.