ALEXANDER (KATV) - The Alexander Police Chief has made the controversial decision to allow his officers to shoot and kill a stray dog if it is threatening a person's life.
The policy has upset some people in the community of 4,000. In all, three people have contacted Chief Walters to complain. The officers have already put down four dogs this year.
Horace Walters has been the police chief since 2010. Within 2 months of being on the job, a stray dog attacked him. It is a situation he does not want residences in fear of.
Chief Horace Walters calls himself an animal lover. He keeps a picture of a stray dog on his desk that adopted him eight years ago. He named her Lady.
Chief Walters recalls, "When I first came to Alexander there was a serious problem with strays, loose and unwanted dog. We begin an effort to eliminate the problem by writing citations and taking people to court."
Loose dogs are now a thing of the past. It is the stray dog problem that is yet to be solved. They do not have a pound and local shelters are overcrowded. "It is like a dog chasing a car. Once he catches it, what can you do with it? That is my dilemma with the stray dogs."
The most recent victim was a 2-year-old girl who was playing in her yard when witnesses say a pit bull attacked her.
In July, a two year old girl was the latest victim of a dog attack in Alexander. The dog got away.
Update: On August 22, an officer on routine patrol was reportedly charged by a dog. The officer shot, killing the animal. Chief Horace Walters confirms with Channel Seven that it is the pit bull they have been looking for in the attack of the 2 year old girl.
Chief Walters explains that when a dog bites a person, it needs to be tested for rabies. He says, "If not that person has to go through a series of 29 rabies shots." He continues, "I have a responsibility to the citizens of Alexander. If these dogs are doing things like that and no one wants to claim ownership - if it is a choice of an animal or a person, you can bet your dollar it is going to be the animal."
Just this year five children have been attacked in their yards. "The only way I will tell them [officers] to put the dog down is if there is an attack and we do not know the owner."
Chief Walters says his responsibility is to protect citizens. "If it is a choice between a human and a dog, the dog is going to doggy heaven."
He says his actions are because of irresponsible dog owners, "I feel sorry for the animals. I am a dog lover and have two dogs. My dogs are kept behind a chain link fence."
All five dogs in the cases are reportedly pit bulls. One of them is possibly a pit bull mix. Dogs that are killed are tested for rabies and discarded.
Original Air Date: August 20