Knox County Sheriff defends shooting of 'aggressive' pit bull, owner disagrees

The Knox Co. sheriff says that the dog was being aggressive and the deputy shot the dog in self defense. The dog's owner believed they overreacted.

EAST KNOX COUNTY - A 911 hang-up call from a home in Strawberry Plains led to a Knox County Sheriff's deputy shooting and killing an "aggressive" pit bull who "came around the corner and charged" at the officers. 

The dogs weren't on a leash but they do wear shock collars that don't allow them past a hidden perimeter, their owner said.

After the early Thursday morning incident, he posted pictures on Facebook and several viewers reached out through our 10Listens e-mail and social media for 10News to look into it. 

Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones said the shooting was "clean."

“It was legit,” he told WBIR 10News. “They were rushing them. They were very aggressive. (The deputies) had to protect themselves.”

The owner of the three pit bulls, Kenny Bailey, disagrees. He's angry and believes the deputy had no right to shoot his dog named Lucifer. Bailey also referred to the dog as "Jack" during an interview at his home.

“They panicked and they know they panicked and they shot an innocent dog and I’m mad," Bailey said. 

(The full body cam video is below. Warning, it contains graphic images and language. Click here for a link to the video) 

He said his three pit bulls, Lucifer, Johnny Cash and Tank, are very well trained dogs that he has to protect his family and home. 

Bailey's property has 14 visible signs warning visitors of his three guard dogs. 

Bailey also noted the deputy shot Lucifer from behind as the dog was running away. 

“Those dogs were protecting those kids and this house. If I had been home it wouldn’t have happened," he added. 

In a news release, the sheriff's office said the deputies responded to a hang-up call to 911 in the 10000 block of Thorngrove Pike shortly before 5 a.m. Thursday.

"For safety reasons, the officers parked away from the mobile home and knocked on the side of the residence. Three unrestrained dogs ran from back of the property with one pit bull charging the officers," the news release said. 

One officer shot and killed one of the dogs.

KCSO released body cam video of the incident. 

According to KCSO, Bailey admitted that "given the situation that he would have shot the dog, also." 

Asked about that statement, Bailey told 10News he meant that he would have reacted the same way, but would have "tased or maced" the dog, instead of shooting it.

The sheriff's office said they are investigating the shooting, and the two officers remain on duty. The sheriff's office also noted that they took a report of a man being bitten by one of the pit bulls at Bailey's address on Oct. 18. 

(© 2016 WBIR)


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