Off-duty officer shoots dog at Shelby Farms Park

Off-duty officer shoots dog at Shelby Farms Park
Updated: Dec. 21, 2017 at 10:25 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis police officer shot a dog at Shelby Farms Dog Park on Thursday.

Memphis Police Department confirmed that the officer was off-duty when the shooting happened.

A witness said she was at the off-leash dog park with her dog around 1:30 p.m. She said she saw a man with a German Shepard open fire on another woman's dog.

MPD said the off-duty officer was inside the park with his dog when a large dog ran through the gate at him and his dog. The officer pulled out his weapon and shot the dog once.

MPD said a witness reported hearing the officer yell for the other dog's owner before opening fire.

The dog that was shot was taken to an animal hospital to have its injuries treated. It's unclear how severe the injuries are.

Hollie Neighbors said her dogs Grizzy and Raleigh love the dog park at Shelby Farms--a place with a pond for swimming and very large off-leash dog park.

She remembers meeting the man with a German Shepherd on Thursday afternoon when she and her dogs were at the park.

"He said, 'I don't know how my dog reacts to other dogs so my dog is on a leash, be careful.' I was like 'I don't know why you're out here but OK,'" Neighbors said.

Not long after that, Neighbors heard something that terrified her and her dogs.

"We heard yelling, screaming, 'put your dog on a leash.' This lady was screaming and he was screaming and they were fighting, growling, and I was like 'oh my God,'" Neighbors said.

Neighbors said the German Shepherd and a dog that looked like a Great Dane were fighting. She heard a shot.

"The man with the German Shepherd said, 'yes ma'am, I'm a police officer. I had to shoot. I had to do it for self-defense,'" Neighbors said. "It was terrifying. I'm just really glad I didn't physically see the dog get shot."

Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, which operates the off-leash dog park, issued the following statement:

"We're aware of a reported incident. This incident is being investigated by law enforcement, and it's our policy not to comment on active investigations. The Park is open and there is no threat to public safety."

Shelby County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation into the case. It has not commented on the investigation at this time.

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