HOUSTON -- The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says a routine review is under way after a deputy shot what he believed to be an aggressive dog Sunday night near Humble.
A neighbor in the 4000 block of Mossy Grove Court called for help after he said two boxers cornered him in his garage. When two deputies arrived, they say one of the dogs confronted them in the middle of the street. One of the deputies fired several times. Sasha and Brad Grether, the owners of the two dogs, rushed out of their house when they heard the gunshots.
"He didn’t even put her out of her misery. He just shot and shot and shot," said Sasha. "And they just left her while they were sitting leaning back on their squad car laughing."
Cell phone video taken by a neighbor showed the female boxer, named Foxy Brown, downed, but not dead, in the middle of the street. The Grethers say it was nearly an hour before deputies allowed them to retrieve the dog and take it to a veterinarian.
The dog was euthanized that same night.
Sasha Grether has since used chalk to scrawl the word "murder" next to the blood stains in the middle of the street.
"And she just died. And she didn’t have to. And to me, that was murder," she said.
Brad Grether says they didn’t even know their dogs were roaming free. They believe they escaped through a loose board in their back yard fence.
But the deputies who responded say the Grethers became so enraged after the shooting they had to be restrained and were threatened with arrest. A sheriff’s office spokesman also clarified department policy. The decision to shoot an aggressive animal is at the deputy’s discretion.
"But if the animal is coming toward you, by all means you defend yourself against the animal," said Deputy Thomas Gilliland. He also said it is a growing problem, and a difficult decision, that confronts deputies nearly every day.
The sheriff’s office responded to 4,068 "aggressive animal calls" in Harris County in 2010.
A week and a half ago, a 10-year-old boy was nearly mauled to death by two dogs roaming free, also in the northeast part of the county.
"It’s a horrible thing," added Gilliland. "A family pet is one, but, also the safety of our citizens and deputies are what we also need to remember also."
A review of the shooting is under way, per standard operating procedure, at the sheriff’s office. The Grethers are also considering filing a formal complaint with HCSO Internal Affairs.