Comments mixed over dog's shooting death by Irmo officer

IRMO, SC (WIS) - Some offered their expertise. Some wanted questions answered. And some wanted more investigation.

With about 50 people in the audience, less than one dozen people spoke at the Irmo Town Council meeting Tuesday night regarding the shooting of a resident's dog by an Irmo Police Officer earlier this month. Despite the outrage and vitriol on social media, those who spoke were subdued.

"Our police department has looked at it and determined the officer did nothing wrong," Mayor Hardy King told the meeting. "The officer did what he should have done.  If he did something else, he may have been second-guessing himself today."

On Labor Day, a police officer responding to a 911 call from a jogger who said he was threatened by the dog shot and killed it on the owner's property.

Irmo businessman Tony Rodgers asked, "Does that concern council this dog was shot on private property?"

"I support our police chief when he says, 'We looked at everything,'" said King. "I support the chief.  I support the officer."

"I think they did all they could," said Council Member Kathy Condom.

"We have a responsibility as a pet owner and as a dog owner to keep our pets contained," said King. "That could have avoided a lot."

"To eliminate owner responsibility as a contributing factor to creating either a great dog or a dangerous one is very wrong," said the owner of Little Barks and Little Meows Pet Boutique.
"Great dogs do not just happen.  They require love, commitment and a clear communication to what is expected of them."

Some of the comments were constructive.  The organizer of a group called Cops for Canine Compassion suggested officers get training in canine encounters.

A friend of the family who owns the dog in question said, "There should be mandated steps.  Tasers should be an option first."

"We could spend the rest of our lives discussing this," said King. "Pepper spray and Tazing isn't the same for human beings and dogs."

Mayor Pro Tem Barry Walker proposed the town sign a contract with a private animal control company to provide on-call services.  Irmo has animal control agreements with Lexington and Richland Counties, but Walker suggested a private company could respond more quickly to calls for service.  Council did not advance the proposal.

"I support this officer," said Police Chief Brian Buck. "I wish it did not happen, but we need to move forward."

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