TAMPA (WFLA) — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance footage that captured the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of a dog at the Gasparilla parade Saturday.
The sheriff’s office said video from a nearby surveillance camera was provided to detectives and shows the incident that caused a horse-mounted deputy to shoot and kill the pit bull.
The video can be viewed above.
“You see the dog go back and forth, back and forth, not one but three times trying to bite these horses in a very aggressive manner,” Crystal Clark with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Clark says a deputy on the street tried to deploy a taser to stop the dog, but didn’t have a clear shot.
For the safety of the horses, their riders and the crowd of pedestrians, a deputy ultimately fires one shot, hitting the dog to end the attack. The dog died from its injuries.Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Clark said the dog’s owner did not try to stop the attack.
“The dogs owner, who was homeless, had tied him, along with his bike, onto one of those gates, Clark said. “Apparently it wasn’t tied very tight because the dog was easily able to break free and charge at those horses.”
Several witnesses have said the deputies should not have shot the dog, but Clark said the deputies didn’t have a choice.
“If a horse is bitten in their sheath area they could easily bleed out,” Clark said.
The Sheriff’s office said the dog’s owner threatened to kill the deputies after his dog was shot.
The owner was sent to a mental health facility for evaluation but is not facing any charges.
According to an HCSO press release, around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Tampa Police Department mounted units were exiting Bayshore Boulevard near Platt Street when a pit bull, roughly 70 pounds, broke free from a gate its owner had tied the dog to at 345 Bayshore Boulevard.
Deputies say the dog charged at the horses, attempting to attack them three times.
The first time, the dog ran towards a TPD horse, barking and growling at the horse as it tried to bite the horse’s hind legs. A deputy nearby tried to tase the dog but couldn’t get a clear point of contact without potentially tasing the horse, deputies say.
The dog then ran back to the side of the road before running toward the horses a second time, this time at an HCSO horse. The dog tried biting the horse in its sheath area and successfully latched onto the horse on one of its front lower legs.
The dog unlatched and charged at the horse for a third time. Deputy Crystal McClelland, who was riding a separate horse, shot the dog once on the center of its back, causing the dog to run from the horses. The dog ultimately died from its injuries at the scene.
The owner of the dog, who is homeless, was present during the attacks but made no apparent attempts to grab the dog as it attacked the horses, according to deputies.
Following the shooting, the owner began making threatening statements to harm the deputies at the scene and himself, according to a release sent by HCSO. He was Baker Acted. A knife was located in his pocket.
Deputy McClelland has been with HCSO for 26 years, a member of the mounted unit for 18 years, and has no prior shooting incidents.
None of the horses were seriously injured during the attacks.
The shooting remains under investigation.
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