Peru police officer shoots, injures dog

Chief: ‘The officer shot one round at the dog in fear for his life”

A Peru police officer shot and wounded a charging dog Monday, though the pet was treated and released within an hour, according to authorities.

Yellow police tape was raised about 1 p.m. Monday between two houses in the 700 block of 12th Street in Peru. There, minutes earlier, an as-yet-unidentified officer shot a dog in one of its front legs. Police Chief Bob Pyszka, in an update issued at 2:25 p.m., said the dog was to be released from a veterinary clinic “with some restriction, but is going to be fine.”

Pyszka said the officer was responding to a call of a dog running loose and initially observed it from the police cruiser to avoid direct contact. After the dog vanished from his line of sight, the officer exited his cruiser to locate the animal. Pyszka subsequently identified the dog as “a large, black pit bull.”

“The dog charged my officer,” Pyszka said. “At that time, the officer shot one round at the dog in fear for his life.”

While the officer was not bitten, Pyszka said at least three complaints were lodged against the animal by neighbors in a five-hour span. Pyszka said a 96-year-old man was charged, a second neighbor reported the dog was running loose and a third said the dog jumped onto a vehicle, scratching it.

“If this is the same dog we’ve been dealing with for quite some time, there is a good chance that the dog owner will be charged with allowing the dog to run loose,” Pyszka said. The investigation, however, is pending.

The investigation is continuing, and the Peru Police Department is asking anyone with any surveillance video from 7 a.m.-1:20 p.m. Monday in that general area to contact the Peru Police Department at 815-223-2151.

At this time, police said, no charges have been filed.

A distraught man, identified by bystanders as the owner, stood at end of the block screaming at the “trigger happy” cops and recording a video with his cellular telephone denouncing police conduct. When approached for comment, however, he declined to be interviewed. He accepted a telephone number for the NewsTribune for possible later comment by him or his lawyer; but there was no immediate call placed.

Two neighbors in the 600 block of 12th Street said the dog had run loose at least half a dozen times previously, including once in the past week, though neither was sure the owner had been ticketed.

Pyszka’s description of the breed was corroborated by records on file with the La Salle Police Department. These show the owner (then a La Salle resident) was ticketed twice for dog running at large — the animal listed in both was a pit bull — and that the fines never were paid.

Peru police are continuing their investigation. Anyone will surveillance video from 7 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. in that general area is asked to contact the Peru Police Department at 815-223-2151.