Gates, N.Y. - Gates Police said an officer was justified in shooting a loose dog on Crestwood Boulevard this week.
The dog’s owner questions the actions of police and insists his dog was no threat to anyone.
"No, Chino was a big pussy cat," Jerome Johnson said of his three-year-old pit bull mastiff. "He'll bark, he'll growl at you if you come in my yard but he's never bitten anybody. There is not one person in this neighborhood that can say he's bitten anybody, never."
Gates Police addressed the issue with local media late Friday morning. The encounter happened around 9 a.m. Monday after a neighbor called 9-1-1 to report an aggressive dog loose in the area of Crestwood Blvd. Police claim the neighbor said the dog attempted to attack his dog and once he got inside he made the emergency call.
The encounter was caught on videotape thanks to a body camera attached to the responding officer. Police would not release that video as it is part of an ongoing prosecution but they did show it to members of the local media and agreed to release one still image that shows the dog just a few feet from the officer who had his gun drawn and was using his patrol vehicle for cover.
"The officer was behind the fender of his police car trying to create some distance between him and the dog and then at the last minute the dog was about three-feet away from being attacked he shot once and struck the dog in the leg," Lt. Jim Vanbrederode of the Gates Police Department said.
Johnson insists his dog was tied to a chain that is anchored on his property. Police say the chain was broken, which explains why the dog was feet from the police officer, who was positioned on the far side of his police vehicle in the middle of the road.
Chino was struck in the leg and Jerome Johnson said he was quoted a $6,000-$8,000 medical bill. He opted instead to have the dog euthanized.