An Austin police officer shot and killed a dog Wednesday night in a north Austin pet store. Investigators say it happened after a dog attacked another dog.
The shooting took place, shortly after 7:00 Wednesday night, inside the Petco store near Lakeline Mall. Two pet owners, one with a pit bull the other with a small dog like a Maltese entered the store at the same time. Both were using a leash.
"The pit bull got aggressive toward the Maltese and apparently there was an altercation between the dogs. The owners were able to separate the dogs and went to opposite sides of the store," said Assistant Chief Steve Deaton
But then, according to Assistant Chief Steve Deaton the pit bull got away from its 16-year-old owner and attacked the smaller dog.
"The pit bull actually had the Maltese in its mouth and was shaking it, apparently ready to kill the other dog," said Assistant Chief Deaton.
Deaton said unlike with the first encounter, this time, the customers in the store could not separate the animals. Officer Leslie Lyons, who was working an overtime security job at the store, was called over to help.
"She had the foresight to tell the people, please move out of the way, and she got everybody out of the way, there was nobody in the background, it obviously made her, her reaction a few seconds longer, but it was for the safety of the people once she had clear shot where she knew no person would be hit she took the shot, two all together," said Assistant Chief Deaton.
The pit bull was killed and the small dog was taken to an animal hospital.
"I feel bad for both owners," said Jim Karp who takes his dog to the store.
Karp has never seen a violent incident at the Lakeline Petco.
"I'm kind of curious why the police officer didn't use his Taser because all the police officers have Tasers," said Karp.
Officer Lyons was in uniform but it's unclear if she had a Taser or pepper spray.
"In that type of incident that type of mauling coming on the best option was probably her pistol," said Assistant Chief Deaton.
About a year ago APD put out a new police regarding dangerous dogs and how to deal with them. Every officer was also required to go through a new training program.
In August, FOX7 was provided a demonstration. Veteran officers go through a power point presentation while new cadets experience a more hands on class like this Assistant Chief Deaton says Officer Lyons went through the training.
"It does not seem as if any policy was violated in this incident," said Deaton.
A formal review into the Petco shooting will still be done and sent to Chief Art Acevedo for a final determination.
Names of the dog owners have not yet been released. We do know the owner of the pit bull lives in Williamson County. Neither dog has a history of violence.