A state trooper who shot and killed his own dog over the weekend said the Shar-Pei had a history of aggression and he had no other choice but to shoot when it tried to bite him a second time.
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Michael DelSoldato, 38, called Carson City police Saturday at 2:48 p.m. to report he shot the dog at his East Carson City home as it came toward him growling.
DelSoldato said when Butter had gotten out of the yard Saturday afternoon he'd gone twice to look for her, concerned she might bite someone. Eventually, the pet, which had been in the family eight years, returned on her own, he said.
In his statement to police, he said he put her in the back yard and picked up a stick to hit the ground near the dog to reprimand it when the animal began to growl and bark. According to the report, DelSoldato said Butter went around the house where he couldn't see it, then came back and bit him on his right calf, at which time he kicked her.
When the dog advanced again, DelSoldato drew his personal weapon, which he uses on duty, and fired two rounds, striking the dog both times, the report states.
"It wasn't my first choice," the 16-year NHP veteran said. "I looked at the fence to see how fast I could get up that fence and how fast she had already gotten ahold of me once. I wasn't going to make it without getting bit again."
A neighbor of the trooper who lives three houses from him said she believed if the animal attacked, it was because the trooper was beating it.
The woman, who asked that her name be withheld, said she saw the off-duty DelSoldato in his yard talking with a man when the dog ran off down the street.
About a half hour later, she said, the dog came back.
"I saw (DelSoldato) open up the gate and call the dog into his yard," she said. "And as soon as he got that dog it sounded as if he started beating it with something. I could hear it screaming and yelping, and then it just got worse and worse and louder and louder."
The noise was so upsetting, she said, she ran to the trooper's yard to intervene.
"And just as I got into his yard I heard the shot."
The witness said she saw DelSoldato holding his leg above his left knee.
"I said 'What did you just do?" The woman recalled. "And he said, 'I shot my dog because it bit me."
Kim Evans, public information officer for the Department of Public Safety, said an internal investigation will be conducted into the shooting.
"We are looking at an incident report and a risk management review of the incident. At that point they will decide if any policies or procedures were violated," she said. "We are still reviewing the incident."
Supervisor Tracy Arnold of Carson City Animal Services said her office will conduct a criminal investigation to determine if the trooper could be charged with animal cruelty.
The Carson City Sheriff's Department is not conducting an investigation, Sheriff Kenny Furlong said.
DelSoldato, who works in the Reno area, said he wants the incident to be "open and transparent."
"I called the Sheriff's Department, I called my office," he said. "I never hit the dog. I had already got bitten once. Here I was looking at having it happen again."
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