St. Petersburg police officer shoots, kills attacking pit bull

ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer shot and killed a charging pit bull Monday afternoon inside a home, authorities said.

Officer Jereme Hayes, a three-year veteran, and two other officers were called to 843-1/2 16th Ave. N about 4:50 p.m. to investigate a report of a domestic brawl involving a resident and her ex-boyfriend, police said.

A resident let Hayes in the front door while two other officers were behind him, said police spokesman Mike Puetz. The woman who let them in shouted to another woman: "Don't let the dog out."

She was talking about the tan pit bull, Debo. The dog got out anyway, slipping past the resident trying to restrain him, Puetz said.

The dog charged, snarling, tail straight and rigid, mouth open, teeth exposed, Puetz said.

A woman yelled, "No, stop him."

Police said Hayes, 27, tried backing out the front door, but was blocked by the other officers.

So he pulled out a gun. The dog tried to bite his left leg. Hayes kicked him back.

The dog attacked again and the officer pointed his gun down, firing a bullet into the dog's head.

Debo collapsed. He was taken to Noah's Place Animal Medical Center, 2050 62nd Ave. N with his owner, 41-year-old Tammy Kay Chabala, who was at the house at the time of the shooting but not involved in the domestic incident, police said. He died at the hospital.

Chabala told an officer Debo was normally a good dog and that she loved him. "The dog was like a son to me and my girls," she told an officer at the animal hospital.

Police will review the shooting, which is standard practice. Hayes will not be placed on paid administrative leave.

St. Petersburg police officer shoots, kills attacking pit bull 07/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 4:15pm]

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