Tampa police officer shoots dog that menaced students, bit two people near Robinson High

Published Feb. 21, 2014

TAMPA — A Tampa police officer shot and wounded a dog Thursday morning that had cornered a group of Robinson High School students and bitten a 14-year-old boy, authorities said.

The dog, described as a white and brindle-colored mixed breed, broke loose from a chain in a yard at 4015 Mango Ave., police said. It wandered to the intersection of Mango and Grady avenues, where it attacked and bit Alen Velic, 14, police said.

A caller reported the attack to police at 7:45 a.m.

At about the same time, Michelle Bennett, 44, was driving by and saw the dog attacking Velic, police said. She got out of her car, grabbed a rake and fended off the dog while a group of Robinson students fled to a fenced-in yard.

As school resource officer Willie Lewis arrived, the dog turned and charged toward him, police said. Lewis fired his gun, hitting the dog near its shoulder.

The dog was taken to BluePearl Tampa veterinary hospital, according to Hillsborough County Animal Services. The agency was conducting its own investigation to see if charges or civil citations were warranted.

Tampa police were conducting an internal investigation of the incident.

Velic and Bennett were both treated at a hospital for bites on their legs, police said. No one else was injured.