Police Officer Shoots And Kills Pit Bull At Burien Apartment Tuesday Afternoon

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Story and Photos by Scott Schaefer

Tuesday afternoon (Mar. 2nd) around 2pm, a potential domestic disturbance 9-1-1 call in Burien turned into the shooting death of a Pit Bull at an apartment near the intersection of 4th Ave SW and SW 155th.

According to a King County Sheriff’s officer on the scene, the Pit Bull escaped from its apartment when its owner, who was unrelated to the original disturbance call, heard some commotion. The dog then allegedly “charged” a cop, who shot it in self-defense. The officer (or possibly another officer) then had to “euthanize” the injured dog by shooting it again, possibly numerous times, according to witness accounts.

The dog’s body was covered in a yellow tarp when we arrived, as Animal Control officers and police continued to investigate the scene.

A neighbor who witnessed the attack told us that he felt the Pit Bull had endangered and scared other residents and children before.

UPDATE 3/3/10 Noon: We just received a response from Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer, who said:

There is an ongoing investigation of this case so I will need to be somewhat brief in my response.

I can tell you the officer was not bitten.

Dog attacks happen occasionally and like any life/safety issue, the Officers are trained to respond to the level of danger using necessary force.

Some of the other questions may be answered in the course of the investigation.

– Chief K

Here are photos we took on the scene shortly after it happened (WARNING: one pic includes visible dog blood):

The deceased Pit Bull's body lies under a yellow tarp.

At least four Burien Police cars and two Animal Control units were on the scene.

Blood from the shot Pit Bull was still visible in the apartment driveway.

As if wondering what had happened, this dog stuck its head out the window of a car as it passed the scene.

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43 Responses to “Police Officer Shoots And Kills Pit Bull At Burien Apartment Tuesday Afternoon”
  1. Chuck Hamilton says:

    I don’t think you need to show pictures of blood!!!! If you write well and are able to describe a situation in detail, that should suffice. With that I do not believe Pit-Bulls should EXIST!! They are TOO dangerous for society. Don’t tell me that it is a dog owners fault for how they react. They are bred to kill.

    • Rodney says:

      Don’t think Pit Bulls should exist? Pit bulls were bred for violence, this is true. But by whom? By other pit bulls? Certainly not! Owners and breeders created them that way to fulfill human desires- those of protection or entertainment in the instances of dogs bred for fighting in underground fighting circles. The violence that has come to be connected with Pit bulls certainly shouldn’t exist but the animals themselves in entirety? That seems absurd. Plus in connection with the other comment on this article in an apartment building prone to violence and crime and a strong defense dog doesn’t seem so unnecessary does it?

    • knucklz says:

      You are a moron. We should all aspire to be more like pit bulls. They are loyal to a fault, wear their hearts on their sleeves and would DIE for those they love.

      Get a clue before you open your trap.

    • cheriee says:

      i think that after being rasied with pits my whole life i should no that they are not mean they are the most loving dog you could ever have and i have been bit by a golden retreiver and never been bit by any of the 30 some pits i have had my whole life that is sicrimanation to this wonderful breed and i think that the cop should not have shot unless the dog had actually bit or was on him. think that people should have a pit before they judge them. i have a friend that took in a pit and it had agression problems but if u work with them they become so much more that fighting dogs. people use to use them for nanny dogs back in the day thank you very much.

    • Yume says:

      Yeah… That’s racial profiling. Yeah, I went there. Someone else thought thought an entire group of beings shouldn’t exist. His name was Adolf Hitler. Pit Bulls are Nanny Dogs. They have unconditional love for those who love them and treat them right. They have been used on many occasions as therapy dogs for autistic children. I even know a family that has one for that very reason. I’ll tell you what, it’s people like YOU that shouldn’t exist. Everyone preaches about equal rights but only for humans right? Pit Bulls passed the ATTS (American Temperament Test Society) way above many dog breeds that are considered “family dogs” Don’t believe me? Check the stats yourself. http://www.atts.org

  2. Concerned Resident says:

    This apartment complex has ‘domestic disturbances’ all the time. I live nearby in a very nice apartment building and am frequently woken up late at night and early morning by screaming, fighting, loud music, or residents spinning their tires in the driveway, street, and grassy area adjacent to the building. The police come and go, sometimes taking someone away in cuffs and recently in a straight jacket. I would like to know the building owners opinion of this situation and if he or she plans on doing anything about it. There needs to be some accountability if we are to improve our neighborhoods.

    And who keeps a pit bull in an apartment?

    • Consuelo says:

      I too live across from the apartment complex. I cannot tell you how many times there is some kind of incident, noise disturbance or fight. I think the management company of the comlplex needs to be more responsible and involved in making sure incidents like this and many others are not tolerated.

    • knucklz says:

      Responsible owners do. You people are complete and utter morons. Ugh.

    • I live there says:

      Really People I live in these apartments and I have never seen anyone taken away in a straight jacket. You must have a lot of time on your hands just looking out your windows. I do agree our apartments have it’s problems but your comments are extreme.

  3. Kim says:

    I agree, the picture of the blood is a bit much. The dog in the car pictured above seems to know it has not been a good week for pups in the Seattle area. Nature vs. nurture will always be the question when discussing pit bulls. I think it is a mix of both.

  4. warrenb says:

    The picture of the blood seems like reporting that a high school paper would do.

  5. warrenb says:

    Oh wait a minute. You are the founder/publisher/editor. Have at it Scott, its your blog.

  6. Sorry if the pic of blood offends people – I thought this was an interesting photo that told a story of where the dog might’ve been first shot, leaving a trail behind as it limped away. Are all of our Readers really so squeamish that they think this pic is offensive? Chime in with enough “Yays” and I’ll remove it. Thanks, Scott

    • TcB says:

      Haven’t had breakfast, yeah the Blood was a little much for the morning…. Maybe it’s the New Wave of Journalism! But it was a little bit of a shock. : P

  7. Jim Branson says:

    The picture of blood is the least offensive thing about this article.

    How is it up to the police officer to decide to “euthanize” a dog? Once the dog wasn’t actively attacking him any more, in what way is he authorized or required to shoot a dog again? Many dogs that have been shot have survived with prompt attention. If it were a police dog that had been shot by a felon, would the officer choose to euthanize the police dog?

    This dog’s death is entirely the fault of people, although we will probably never know which people bear the most blame. If the dog charged at someone inappropriately, which we don’t know, then it was due to a lack of training by the owner. Most of the pit bulls I’ve met have been much nicer, and less dangerous, than most of the people I’ve met.

    • Jim Branson says:

      “The picture of blood is the least offensive thing about this article–” is intended to mean that the facts of the case are offensive. Not intended as a comment on the writing or photography.

    • george says:

      I watched them shoot this dog. I think the actions of the officers were irresponsible. As I watched the officers continued to follow the dog as it tried to get away shooting it. The officers shot at least 6 or 7 times. I have a infant son next door, and the police were shooting off there guns like it was new years eve and they were celebrating. I was told by one of the officers that there bullets do not ricochet. Also, I agree that once the dog was down, they had no right to make the decision to murder the dog. The police in this country are out of control. They believe any decision they make is justified, and this is because they are rarely held accountable to there decisions.

      • tripC says:

        George, do you know if the officer was bitten by the dog as someone else wrote? I wasn’t there, a first hand account is a better one than mine.

      • Jim Branson says:

        George, I hardly know what to say to your post. I wish I could say it was surprising.

        In July of 2008, police burst into the home of the Mayor of Berwyn Heights, MD. They shot the two dogs in the home because “They felt threatened.” One of the dogs was running away when shot. It turned out that the FedEx driver and his accomplice were moving large amounts of drugs by setting packages on people’s front steps, which the accomplice would come by and pick up before the homeowner knew. The Mayor did nothing wrong, but his dogs are dead, unnecessarily, and the police were never held accountable.

        Because you were a witness to today’s shooting, I hope you will hold the police accountable. Telling the police probably won’t bring any result. I hope you will speak up to our elected officials and ask them to look into this.

        My dogs are members of my family. I do what I can to protect them. It shouldn’t even be a possibility that police officers could shoot my dogs while they were running away, even if I made a mistake.

      • knucklz says:

        My friend was friends with the owner of the dog, he states that the dog did NOT come at them aggressively and was actually WAGGING HIS TAIL as he approached them.
        We had the seattle police shoot 2 pits outside our home 2 years ago and although these dogs were mistreated and soooooo hungry – the cop PROVOKED the dogs to attack him and then he shot them both multiple times – one of the dogs died in our driveway! After they investigated their crime, the seattle police department and animal control just left the dead dog in our driveway (we have children as well!). My husband had to help the owner drag the dog over to his home 3 houses away. Horrible procedures, horrible morale, horrible everything regarding this situation and the above mentioned one.

        • feral dog says:

          I`m a dog lover myself by unfortunately a pits reputation usually exceeds them when it comes to situations like this, how many drug dealers, etc use them for protection to attack anything that comes to their door? That poor mutt was nothing more than a victim of circumstance by reputation. I wish they the police would take that same stance with some people.

  8. Coverofnight says:

    OK, I agree…the picture of the blood was not appropriate and/or necessary. Regarding the pit bull breed – with all the negative press out there and instances of vicious attacks, I don’t trust them enough to want them around anywhere. It’s probably their training that makes them so dangerous and that’s the fault of the Owner, not the dog. However, life’s too short to take any chances living so close to potential killer animals. I feel sorry for the people (especially kids) that have to live so close to that danger. Cats and birds – that’s all that should be allowed at apartment complexes anyway. If you need protection, go through the proper procedures and get a concealed weapons permit and a firearm. Be responsible though, and always try to call the police first.

  9. Jim Branson says:

    The KOMO 4 report implies that the officer was bitten by the dog. Their reporting is too vague to know that for sure. I would like to know if it’s true.

  10. tripC says:

    Being the direct neighbor to the owners of a pit bull type breed, I have seen how this animal has been raised from a puppy. This dog has been bred, and raised to hurt people both intentionally, and unintentionally. These are big, active, and energetic dogs that need freedom, and space to run. They need love, attention, discipline, and respect. I have befriended this dog since he was a pup. I am one of only a handful of people who are lucky enough to come back with their hands attached (so far) after reaching over to pet him. I see him deteriorating, fading, losing touch with us humans. I see that his lack of love, attention, and discipline inside his chain link prison is turning him into a very angry, and lonely animal. He has bitten a friend, and tried to bite my daughter. I fear that if he escapes in anger there will be hell to pay for whomever he is after. I cannot fault an officer, especially these days, for doing his job, and defending himself. I may be wrong, but I took from the article, that the dog most likely was so bad that he made the call to end it. This of course would have been a judgement call, but I feel alright with paying the police officer for that service, if this was the case. We hire officers to make judgements for us daily. I once had an animal that was run over by a car, and was so badly injured, body distorted, that I have had to make this call as well. It is not easy. Instead of berating the officer for what must have been a difficult day, I will thank him for doing the job a lot of people would not do, putting his life on the line for me.

    • Jim Branson says:

      tripC, I appreciate that you are trying to show your neighbor’s dog some love, even if the owners won’t. If the dog is being treated inhumanely, there are groups, like Dogs Deserve Better, that can intervene and help this dog. I would say you could call animal control, but I don’t have confidence they would always be helpful. Or you could email me with the address and I would see what I could do to get help for this dog.

      Regarding today’s shooting, I wouldn’t fault an officer for defending himself if he was actually in danger. To shoot a dog while he’s running away is not what police get paid for, and it doesn’t protect anyone. I doubt it’s even legal. If they say they shot the dog to end his suffering, that’s not their call to make. A 24-hour emergency vet is just five blocks away. If the dog could not be saved, our duty as a society is to end his life peacefully and painlessly.

      From the reporting so far, it seems that the owner is not blameless in this dog’s death. What we don’t know is if it was ongoing negligence of the owner, or a one-time mistake. Either way, it’s no excuse for the police to arbitrarily execute a dog.

      • tripC says:

        I think that as details become more apparent, reports are not always detailed enough to accurately judge such things. I do not know whether the officers were just in their handling of the incident, I have no personal account of the events. I can appreciate first hand accounts, and would like to hear from more of the witnesses in the area at the time. Scott?? As to a dog attacking an officer, I feel they are justified in defending themselves. I do believe the reaction should fit the offense though, often times this is not the case. Jim, how do you think that the officer should have handled a pit bull charging, and/ or attacking him? Perhaps a club, and not a gun?

        • Jim Branson says:

          I would certainly prefer he use a night stick or pepper spray, not a gun. When a pit bull charged at my dog, I gave him a kick under the rib cage and sent him flying into the bushes. He didn’t bother us any more, and he wasn’t seriously injured. Another time that a pit bull charged at my dogs, I picked him up by the scruff of the neck and handed him to his owner. A dog only has one mouth and a person has two hands. If a police officer can’t subdue a dog without using his gun, I wouldn’t feel safe having him protect me.

          Having said that, I can understand if the officers shot the dog as it was charging toward them. Or perhaps if it had bitten, locked on, and wouldn’t let go. Even if I didn’t agree with the way they handled it, I could see their point of view. To shoot a dog while running away is completely unjustified. The only reason they would do it, if they did, is because they know they won’t be held accountable.

          I understand that being a cop is a crappy job that no one wants to do. I’m not being unappreciative of police. I think it is in their own best interests to be seen as fair and reasonable.

          • Bonnie M. says:

            Hmmm, Jim B., you picked up a pit bull by the scruf of his neck – definitely not something I would recommend most of us try. Give the police officer a break. Given all the senseless acts of domestic violence recently, that officer does not have to be further distracted by a charging pit bull. He had to make a quick decision and unfortunately his motives/actions are now being questioned. It turns out the dog wasn’t a gentle, sweet family pet, but a neglected, potentially dangerous animal, who was put out of his misery. The police officer did the right thing given the circumstances.

  11. tripC says:

    Perhaps incidents like this might bring to light the need for further, or varied types of training that Chief Kimerer, and the Sheriffs department might address. Perhaps they already have that training in place, and this was an unfortunate mistake. Perhaps it was handled just as should be, “by the book”, and the officers involved would do it the same way again. I know as a resident I always appreciate, less gun shots, and death in my community. It might be possible, that the city needs to address its animal population better, this is not the first, and I doubt it will be the last we have heard about problems with pit bulls in Burien.

  12. Bill says:

    Who would want to keep a dog in an apartment anyway? Thats irresponsible.

  13. knows the dog says:

    The dog did not bite the officer. The owner does handle her dog well. This dog ran out the door because he heard loud yelling. The officer never even gave the dog a chance to attack. The officer shot and didn’t think twice about anyone but himself. Really a dog bite is much easier to take care of then a bullet wound.

  14. Jack says:

    Port Of Seattle Police Citizen’s Academy Begins April 12th for all the folks who want to second guess police actions.

  15. Jim Branson says:

    “We’ll post updates on this incident as we receive them….”

    Two witnesses have commented on this blog that the dog was not attacking, and was shot multiple time while running away. I would like to read an update on the story.

  16. Lindsay says:

    Pepper spray? really? You all think pepper spray or a nightstick is going to stop a charging or attacking dog? That is WRONG. About a year ago my corgi got attacked and pinned by a boxer and that dog refused to release despite me kicking it in the face, it’s owner trying to choke off its air supply and my sister trying to pull it off. It is extremely unfortunate, but sometimes the only way to stop a dog attack is to use maximum force. I don’t care if the charging/attacking dog is a pit bull, a boxer, or a freaking lab. If a big dog is coming at you, your reaction is going to be to defend yourself. And if the dog in this article had been charging someone other than the cop who shot it, the reactions on this blog would be much different. Think about that. What if this pit bull had charged a civilian and the cop hadn’t shot it? Then you’d all blame the cop for not being forceful enough.

    • Jim Branson says:

      As I said earlier, I’ve stopped charging pit bulls without pepper spray or a night stick. Just because you weren’t able to do it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

      Perhaps the average, untrained person shouldn’t be expected or required to know how to stop a charging dog. A police officer, though, is likely to encounter a dog that is either aggressive or frightened, more than once in his or her career. It would only make sense that officers be trained in simple but effective techniques for stopping a dog attack.

      I hope you will learn to prevent your dog from ever being bitten by another dog. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to know how to do this. If it does happen again, you should know you can break up almost any dog fight by grabbing the back legs of the attacking dog and lifting. It freaks them out.

      Theoretically, humans are smarter than dogs. It’s not like we don’t know that another dog attack is coming. As long as certain idiots are allowed to own dogs, there will be dog attacks. Even people who are thoughtful and caring dog owners might end up in circumstances where their dogs are startled or triggered by something. Saying that shooting them is the only option is just irresponsible. Also, shooting the dog doesn’t solve the problem if it was a case of negligence on the part of the owner. That owner can just get another dog and turn it into a dangerous one.

      At any rate, there doesn’t appear to have been much of an attack in this case. From what we know so far, it seems that there was a lot of barking, no biting, and the dog was shot while running away.

  17. Brandi says:

    Good Grief folks it’s blood it happens!

  18. HoBo says:

    If someone is attacked by a K-9 police dog and shots the dog in their own self defense, that person will be charged with shotting a police officer.
    King County trains their K-9s to “Bite-and-Hold” (and hold…and hold).
    [i.e., one has no self defense clam when a police K-9 is the attacker, doesn’t seem right]

  19. Cartert Johnson says:


    How many rounds of ammunition does it take to dispose of one dog? Residents
    said as many as ten were fired. I was in Viet Nam, I now hate guns, also ill
    trained users. One round should be more than too much.

  20. kasko says:

    i have a pitbull and i thinl they shouldnt be banned or put down for something that isnt there fault i say it the owners fault that raised them like that, like pitbulls are trained to do what the owners what and they don’t have a choice

    • kasko says:

      but then im not saying that if they attack for no reason then maybe they should be put down,im also not sayin all pitbulls are mean like my pitbull is awesome he’s really nice but there are some really mean dogs out there. thats my oppinion

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