An officer responding to a loud party complaint on Saturday night shot and killed a dog in self defense, Bozeman police said.

According to police reports, officers were sent at 9:45 p.m. to a residence at 2220 W. Main St. in the Wagon Wheel Trailer Park, where an officer “was forced to use lethal force against an aggressive dog.”

Officer Lucas Chaffins was approaching the mobile home and trying to get the attention of someone inside through an open door when a pit bull charged him, Deputy Chief Rich McLane said Sunday.

“He tried to use verbal commands without success and ultimately had really no choice but to shoot the dog,” McLane said.

Witnesses at the scene told officers the dog had, within the week, attacked a neighbor, though the incident was not reported to police at the time, McLane said. McLane also said it was not the first time police had been called to that address.

The dog's owner, Adam Lavern Brannon, 36, of Bozeman, was arrested for disorderly conduct after he reportedly directed racial slurs and obscenities at the neighbors he believed responsible for calling police about the party, according to police reports.

Jail records show that Brannon was released Sunday morning at about 1:40 a.m.

Bozeman police last used firearms against a dog a month ago. On Aug. 1, officer Obadiah Rouse shot a dog that police say charged him as he approached a transient camp site near Peets Hill. The dog was later euthanized at its owner's request.

“We don't go to a call hoping or wanting to shoot a dog,” McLane said. “It's not what we do, but if we're there legally and a dog is attacking us, we will defend.”

“Using lethal force is something we don't take lightly, be it with a person or with a dog,” he said. “Officers try to make the best decision they can make in a matter of, sometimes, fractions of a second, and that's what happened here.”

As with all police-related shootings, the incident will be reviewed by the department, McLane said.


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