Dog in Whitewood shot by off-duty Lawrence County Sheriff's deputy

 Debo, the pitbull Dalmatian mix
Debo, the pitbull Dalmatian mix (KOTA)
Published: Mar. 9, 2020 at 6:43 PM CDT
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According to a Lawrence County Sheriff's Office statement, on Thursday evening, when an off-duty deputy came home after his shift, he was approached on his property by his neighbor's large, barking dog, a pitbull Dalmatian mix named Debo.

The statement said the dog's owner was initially able to call the dog back, but the dog then turned and, the sheriff's office said it aggressively ran at the Deputy a second time, while barking.

The deputy fired one shot from his service weapon, a .45 caliber glock, when Debo got within a few feet, hitting the dog in the face.

Debo's owners are upset and say their dog has been around people his whole life and has never bitten or scratched anyone.

They say they are shocked at the course of action taken by the deputy.

"He was picking up his his trash can," said Melissa Overland, Debo's owner. "My dog who was with us just a little bit ago decided to start barking at him and while he was barking at him the officer decided to pull out his service weapon because he said I'm going to shoot him and he did. He shot him right in the face. I looked like he was going for a kill shot but it got through his cheek. But there was no aggression, no anger. He was just barking."

The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office said the deputy involved described the second time the dog charged him as different and he felt the dog was attacking him.

"Understanding that we've had a thorough cursory review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, I have not seen any evidence as of yet to indicate that this was anything other than a deputy defending himself from a dangerous animal," said Captain Tavis Little, with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office. "But, this is an ongoing investigation and at the conclusion of that, we will make a much more informed decision."

Overland said she just wants to feel safe in her community and wants a fair reprimand for the Deputy's actions.

According to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, the dog is recovering at home and the incident is under investigation and that the deputy involved has not been put on any restricted duty.

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