EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman says she’s suing the city because her dog had to be put down after being shot by police early Wednesday morning. Melissa Lowe’s pit bull Jax got in a fight with an Edmonton Police Service dog during a break and enter investigation near 147 Avenue and 23 Street in north Edmonton.
Family friend Nicholas Danzell says he took Jax out for a walk and bathroom break. On the way back to the house, Danzell noticed the garage door was open and there were two people inside. That’s when Jax got a bit anxious, Danzell said.
“Immediately I knew whoever was in the garage, he didn’t know,” he explained.
Danzell says the suspects took off running, so he and Jax ran after them. After calling for a friend’s help, who was at Danzell’s house at the time, Danzell says the trio was able to apprehend one of the suspects in a neighbour’s yard and call police.
“They got here really quickly,” Danzell said of the police officers. “They took him into custody and they started working right away.”
A police service dog, Viper, was called in to help search for the second suspect. As Viper was just outside the house, Jax managed to slip past Danzell and run outside. The two dogs got into an altercation.
“I was close to him and I think he thinks he was, at that stage, that he was being protective of the property and he reacted to the dog,” Danzell explained.
“They just got into a bit of a standoff. They started to go at it a bit, they started to fight a bit,” Danzell explained. “I tried to remove him, but backed off immediately for my safety because he was protected by another officer.”
Danzell says that’s when Jax was shot by a patrol officer.
Police said Wednesday the altercation between the dogs went on for more than a minute before the gun was fired. However, Danzell says it couldn’t have been more than 20 seconds.
“I would say it was less than 20 seconds.”
Danzell says Jax lost the use of his limbs as a result of the gunshot wound. The decision was made to put the dog down.
Danzell describes the three-and-a-half year old dog as “very curious,” but adds he’s never been aggressive against any human. Danzell says he hopes both dogs can be protected in the future if something like this happens.
Melissa Lowe says she plans launch a civil case against the City of Edmonton because of the shooting.
Police were initially called to the north Edmonton neighbourhood around 4:15 a.m. for a vehicle theft. An 18-year-old man, who is known to police, was arrested and charged with break and enter and theft from a motor vehicle.
Police say PSD Viper could not continue to track the second suspect after the attack. The suspect has not yet been located by police.
Police said PSD Viper suffered scratches and missing fur in the attack.
With files from Shallima Maharaj, Global News.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated on Friday, April 10 to clarify Nicholas Danzell’s relationship with Jax the dog.