JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A lawn maintenance worker shot and killed a dog Tuesday morning in Northwest Jacksonville after he said the dog jumped a fence from a neighbor's property and charged at him, according to police.
David Hardy said he was mowing the backyard at a home off West 44th Street, where he's been cutting the grass for more than five years, when one of the dogs on the other side of the back fence suddenly leaped over the fence and ran at him, growling.
“When he charged at me he was looking like he was going to attack me, so I had to pull out my gun and shoot him,” Hardy said. “I didn't want to shoot the dog.”
Hardy said he'd never had any trouble with the neighbor's dogs before but was warned recently by the homeowner who employs him to be careful of them.
“The owner just told me this last month to start watching out for those dogs,” Hardy said. “I don't know where they came from. I don't know if they were in the house or they were chained up, but now they're loose, and that fence is broken, and that's when they jumped across the fence at me.”
Hardy said he thought at first that he missed the dog with his shot, because it ran away and jumped back over the fence to its own yard. But the dog died.
“I apologized to the guy. I didn't want to shoot his dog, but it was either the dog or me,” Hardy said. “I'm just trying to make a living out here doing my lawn work. That's all I'm trying to do. I just don't want no trouble like this.”
Hardy said the dog's owner believes the dog was charging at the lawnmower, not at Hardy.
“I don't know which one the dog was going at, me or the lawnmower, but I'm protecting myself,” Hardy said.
The dog's owner was angry and called police, but they determined Hardy was acting in self-defense, and he was not charged with a crime.
“(The dog's owner) said I should have just fought the dog off,” Hardy said. “Now, that's stupid. I'm not going to try to fight off a pit bull when he's trying to attack me.”