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Officer shoots dog near elementary school

Pit bull was seen roaming near school bus stop, tried to bite officer, police say

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A dog that had been roaming near Crystal Springs Elementary School on Friday was shot by a police officer at a home near the school, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Administrators at the Westside school on Hammond Boulevard called police about the dog, a pit bull, which had gotten loose from its home on Crystal Springs Road and was seen near the school bus stop.

The officers responding to the call found the dog and kept an eye on it while they waited for animal control to arrive. The dog walked down the sidewalk, and they followed it to its home.

When officers tried to approach the dog near the back fence, the dog turned and attempted to bite one officer's hand.

"The officer took one step back, drew his service weapon, fired one round in a downward direction and apparently shot the dog in the upper jaw," JSO Lt. Richard Elkins said. "The dog ceased the attack at that point in time (and) the officers withdrew."

The owner of the dog is wondering why her dog had to be shot in the first place.

Susan Smith describes her pit bull as a big gray baby.

"He's a big baby. A big baby. He thinks he's about 5 pounds," said Smith.

Brutus, 7, may not be small, but Smith said he's never gotten out and never hurt anyone, which is why Smith was shocked to come home to a half dozen police cars in her yard.

"The police officer told me that the dog lunged at him and that he had to shoot him," Smith said.

Smith arrived home and took the dog to the vet, who told her Brutus is fortunate.

"She said he missed the trachea, missed his major arteries and everything. He's very lucky to be alive. Extremely, 40 caliber? Extremely lucky to be alive," said Smith.

Lucky, but Smith said she still wonders why animal control didn't show up, and she has questions for JSO.

"I just don't know why he was shot. That's my only concern," Smith said. "I'm glad he survived. I just don't understand why he was shot."

The dog has been ordered to stay inside for 8-10 days and has been placed on two antibiotics. The vet said the dog will heal on its own.

JSO took a lot of pictures of the incident and said it would release a detailed report in the future.

No officers or neighbors were injured.