The owner of a dog who was killed by sheriff's deputies last weekend is seeking legal action and new policies after what she says was an unnecessary death.
The incident took place on Dec. 2 at the 15700 block of Brandiron Street when deputies were serving a warrant to 24-year-old Jared Smith for assault with a deadly weapon. Detective Lori-Ann Wells told Patch that deputies shot at the dog after it attacked, though no deputies were injured.
Smith's ex-girlfriend and co-owner of the dog, Brianna Fox, told Patch that the reports of an attack are false, saying that Jimbo, the 2-year-old pit bull mix, didn't even "take two steps" toward the officers.
"He didn't bark or anything," Fox told Patch. "He had a tennis ball in his mouth. It's not like he ran out."
Fox said the deputies told her they can't wait for "every dog to bite or lick," which is why they shot without hesitation.
According to Fox, Smith was inside a motorhome parked next to her house with a friend and the dog, Jimbo. She says she knew Smith, who was arrested on probable cause for the outstanding felony warrant, possession of a deadly weapon, spousal abuse and vandalism, was there and that the two raised the dog together.
"There was a huge helicopter flying close ot the house... so we all came outside," Fox said. "Jimbo stopped, looked at the officers and then back at Jared. And then they shot."
Fox's adoptive mother, Goldie Charlene Fox, who goes by Charlene, witnessed the whole thing.
"I got up and stuck my head out, opened the front door and to my right come two officers with shotguns, running as fast as they could," Charlene said. "The shots just blew him over."
Charlene told Patch that deputies ran onto the property from all directions without warning. Though she couldn't see Jimbo as he was being shot, she said he never barked or growled.
"It's an awful, awful thing," Charlene said. "I know they're doing their job, but they came in here like [Smith] was a mass murderer."
Charlene says she doesn't know who made a phone call to the sheriff's department to tip them off that Smith might be on her property. Detective Wells told Patch that deputies visited the home after receiving a call at 7:58 a.m. about a suspicious person.
Charlene said Jimbo didn't have an aggressive personality and was a "real character" that got along with her five dogs.
"That dog would've never charged. He was the sweetest... absolutely the best dog," she said.
Fox got Jimbo cremated, at the urging of Charlene.
"I took him to get cremated because he was not recognizable," Fox said. "The vet that examined him said that he got shot at least five times... and that he was not facing [the deputies] when he got shot."
What do the Foxes hope to get out of this? Charlene said she wants animals to be "treated fairly" and Fox said she wants to see the department policy changed in the course of all of this.
"I think it's completely appropriate to tranquilize a dog," Fox said, as opposed to shooting them to control situation. "Move them out of the way and move on to the suspect or whoever you're dealing with. It will save a bunch of lives and a bunch of heartbreak."
Patch put an inquiry in to the sheriff's department regarding their policy on handling dogs during these situations, but as of publication, has not received a response.
Fox wants to pursue legal action for tighter restrictions and compensation on Jimbo's cremation, but is having a hard time finding someone to be her ally.
"I'm trying," Fox said of finding a lawyer. "All of the attorneys that I've spoken to don't want to deal with it."
Editor's note: Pictures of Jimbo from the vet were posted to the original story here, but were deemed too graphic by the Ramona Patch editor and subsequently taken down.