PALM SPRINGS, FL (WFLX) - Palm Springs police are investigating one of their officers to determine if he was justified in shooting and killing a pit bull Saturday afternoon.
It happened outside of a home on Dale Road.
Some residents who knew the dog, named Twelve Pack, and its owner say it did not have a reputation for being vicious; though, police say, an officer shot the dog for his own safety.
The owner says everyone who lives at the home had left the house to go to a wedding.
However, the owner says, someone returned home at the last minute to grab something, and likely forgot to close and lock the gate.
Police say they were called by a neighbor to investigate a suspicious incident after seeing an open door, open gate and loose dogs at the home.
In surveillance video, neighbors are seen standing in the front yard with the pit bull and two other dogs before police arrived. "The neighbors, they all feed the dog. They all know him, and he's been here for five years, and he's never bitten anybody," said family friend, Bobby Schmaltz.
Surveillance video shows Twelve Pack and two other dogs run toward the officer when he walks near the driveway.
Police say Twelve Pack was growling, barking and showing his teeth, and that the officer tried to kick the dog away.
When the dog wouldn't retreat, police say, the officer felt threatened and shot him. "It was just shocking. It's something that you always hear about but you never think it's going to happen until it touches close to home," Schmaltz said. "He was just a really loving pit bull. It's basically like losing a friend."
Police are investigating the incident.
Five other dogs also live at the home, according to Schmaltz. The owner says she will be more careful in the future about making sure the gate is closed.