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Sunnyside dog owner upset police killed his pet

A police officer was forced to shoot and kill a homeowner's dog after Sunnyside police went to a house in the 100 block of Lorretta Street at 12:48 p.m. on Monday to look for a runaway juvenile.

Sunnyside Police Department Deputy Chief Phil Schenck said two officers went to the house with one going to the front door and the other one going around to the back of the house.

It was then, Schenck said, that what appeared to be a mixed pit bull/massif dog appeared and threatened the officer. The dog charged and the officer shot the dog from about five feet away. The dog continued its charge and the officer fired a second shot when the dog was just two feet away. The dog then fled.

The resident of the house, Enrique Espinoza, was at a loss for words on the incident. He said no one was home at the time the police arrived.

"They knew about my dog," he said. "They had been to my house several times before looking for this kid. He was never there."

Espinoza said there are numerous signs posted on his property warning people of his dog. Although the dog wasn't chained up, the dog wore a shock collar that kept him within a certain radius of the house.

"I could understand if the police didn't know about my dog but there were signs up," he said. "They are there for a reason."

Schenck said any animal lover would be horrified by this event, but noted the officer did exactly as trained.

"He was protecting himself and fellow officers," he said.

Schenck said it is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure the property is safe for police officers, firefighters and city or private workers who might check and read meters at a household.

Espinoza, who said the dog was a Presa Canario breed, told the Daily Sun News he wants to speak with an attorney before making any decision on whether to file a claim against the city.

Schenck said anytime an officer fires their weapon there is an investigation. Schenck said the officer has already been investigated and has been cleared to return to duty.

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