Last updated at 5:22 a.m.
RIVERVIEW, Fla. (WFLA) – A tense situation broke out in a Hillsborough County neighborhood last week moments after a security owner shot a man’s dog.
“We have dogs that hop the fence and we all play with each other. All the dogs play,” the dog’s owner, David Zimmerman, said.
Zimmerman has owned Vader, a husky mix, since he was just a puppy. Around midnight on Thursday, Zimmerman says he let his dogs out for a quick leash-free walk. Vader went running out ahead and, moments later, his human heard gunshots and his dog cry out in pain.
“My dog was here. So he was thirty feet away,” Zimmerman explained as he showed 8 On Your Side where the dog was shot.
The security officer was writing a ticket for a truck parked overnight on the street. He claims the dog was 3 to 5 feet away when it came at him, forcing him to shoot.
“He got shot twice. Once in the chest and it shattered his left arm, and once in the back as he was running away,” the distraught pet owner said.
Days later, Vader’s blood is still visible on Zimmerman’s driveway.
Critical Intervention Services, the company contracted by Summerfield Villages in Riverview to patrol and protect, stands behind their officer’s decision.
“I think it’s all about perspective. It’s late at night, it’s dark, you see a dog coming at you – growling, barking at you – I think he was fearful for his safety,” said Hector Rodriguez, vice president of protective services with Critical Intervention Services.
“Had my dog attacked him, this would, I mean – whatever, that’s my fault. (But) my dog didn’t attack,” said Zimmerman.
Vader has surgery scheduled at Fetch Veterinary Center in Brandon on Tuesday. The family hopes he will be back home by Friday. But they are concerned about their mounting vet bill that’s nearing $15,000. They’ve set up a GoFundMe to help.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating and has not charged anyone.
The security officer is on administrative leave and CIS will not be working that neighborhood in the future.