Shame on this incompetant sheriff for shooting a dog in his own yard! Deputy Masson should be penalized and shamed for this cowardly behavior! Shame on the Sheriffs Office for blowing off the event!
My deepest sympathies to Cheech’s family.
Thanks to this Tampa Tribune for this article.
Please be warned that this story is extremely upsetting.
Deputies Kill Dog That Family Describes As A Peaceful Pup
By KEITH MORELLI The Tampa Tribune
Published: May 15, 2007
RIVERVIEW – Cheech was a big baby who played with children and other dogs, said Brandy Downer, who lived with the 55-pound pooch.
His only problem, she said, was that Cheech was born a pit bull.
Monday morning, Cheech’s path crossed with Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies who were looking for a man wanted on a warrant.
Cheech was shot to death. Deputies fired four rounds at the dog and three found their mark.
They said the dog had growled and lunged at them.
Downer said the dog was never aggressive – to children in the family or other dogs or anyone else.
“If you stomped your foot,” she said, “he would run the other way.”
The 2 1/2 -year-old red nose pit bull was in his yard and was about to be called into the house at 10617 Cone Grove Road by his owner, Mitch Davis, who is Downer’s boyfriend. Davis was too upset Monday to talk about the incident.
“He’s not talking to anyone right now,” said Downer, 25, a couple of hours after they dragged Cheech’s body from beneath a pickup truck – proof he was not attacking, she said -and buried it in the back yard.
Deputies said they were in the area shortly before 7 a.m. to serve a warrant on Robert Davis, Mitch’s brother, who they thought lived in Downer’s home. Robert Davis was wanted on a contempt of court warrant.
Deputy John Masson, 32, looked over a privacy fence in an effort to find Davis, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Carter. He spotted the pit bull as it came out of the fenced-in area and went between sheds and a pickup, she said.
The dog came out into the open and growled at Masson, who pulled his handgun, fired as the dog lunged and killed him on the spot, Carter said,.
Downer said Robert Davis never lived at the address and wasn’t there Monday morning.
Cheech has been the family dog since he was 6 months old, she said.
“He’s the biggest wimp of a dog,” she said.
Although she didn’t see the incident, she said she knows the animal.
“I don’t have to have been there to know,” she said. “I feel like the dog was categorized because he happened to be an aggressive breed.”
A review board at the sheriff’s office will investigate the incident, Carter said.
“There appeared to be no problem with the shooting at this time,” she said.