PROVO — An officer and a pit bull are in good condition after the officer allegedly shot the dog in self-defense while serving a search warrant in Provo on Monday.
Provo Police Investigators were serving a drug search warrant at 1:30 p.m. Monday at 996 East Cedar Avenue. The suspect, David Hayes, 51, opened the front door after investigators knocked several times. Hayes slammed the door after seeing police, and the entry team forced open the door.
Hayes' pit bull then exited the home and attacked one of the officers standing on the front porch, according to Lt. Mathew Siufanua with the Provo Police Department.
Siufanua said the officer, fearing for his safety, began backing up from the dog before losing his balance. The officer shot one round at the dog while falling backwards.
He didn't want to get attacked by the dog while he was on the ground, and the dog was still coming after him.
–Lt. Mathew Siufanua
"He started to lose his balance and he didn't want to get attacked by the dog while he was on the ground, and the dog was still coming after him," Siufanua said.
The officer suffered minor scrapes and bruises. The dog, shot in the upper-left shoulder, was located about three blocks away and transported by animal control to an animal shelter for treatment. Siufanua said he did not believe the dog was set on the officers on purpose.
"Pitbulls are pretty territorial, and I'm thinking the dog just became very agitated we were there and then attacked us for that reason," he said.
Hayes was booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of possession of a weapon by a restricted person, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, distribution of marijuana and possession of spice.
Siufanua said an internal investigation will be conducted into the circumstances of the shooting.