Even so, Fowler said, “We’re extremely sorry about what happened.”
He said the deputy and deputy’s supervisor apologized to the woman, who told them the 90 pound yellow Lab had been “very aggressive the past two weeks and she didn’t know why.”
However, the owner, Sheyenne Knox told the Star-Telegram that her dog, named Johnny Cash, was not dangerous and was likely instinctively running to guard the front door when the deputy approached the home on Wednesday.
The deputy, whom Fowler did not identify, responded to a neighbors’ home after a report was received of two large aggressive dogs on her property. The neighbor said that she was afraid to go outside, authorities said.
Fowler says, upon the deputy’s arrival, “a big dog jumped on the side of his truck, barking and growling. He couldn’t get out.”
He waited for the dog to leave and talked to the woman, who said she believed the dogs belonged to a neighbor who lived a quarter-mile away.
The officer called for a tranquilizer gun and went to the residence. When he arrived, the tranquilizer gun had not arrived, but he didn’t see the dogs so he exited his vehicle to speak with the homeowner.
Knox said that she was inside asleep with her 7-month-old child when the deputy arrived and that she didn’t witness the shooting.
Fowler said the dog charged the deputy as he approached the door.
“Here it comes. This 100-pound dog was hell-bent to eat him up, coming at him, charging full speed. He was basically between the house and his vehicle, and he couldn’t get back to his vehicle,” Fowler said. “So the officer fired.”
Knox said the gunshots woke her up. Outside, she found Johnny Cash dead.
“I think it was excessive,” Sheyenne Knox said. “I’m sure Johnny was running and barking. I’ve seen him do it a million times when someone pulls down the drive. But he wasn’t running to attack or bite. He was a family dog.”
Sheyenne Knox acknowledged that, despite the countywide ordinance, her family let Johnny Cash and another dog run free on their Texas property. But she said that she lives on 100 acres on a dead-end street outside Weatherford and that only a few other houses are nearby.
“I realize we were in the wrong by not keeping him contained,” Sheyenne Knox said. “But he didn’t deserve to get killed.”
Fowler called the shooting unfortunate. But he pointed out that Parker County requires owners to keep dogs contained or on a leash at all times.
“If the dog was contained, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Fowler said. “I never want to see any animal hurt.”
Law enforcement in Parker County has an affinity for animals and has a long history of helping animals, he said. “It was just an unfortunate series of events,” Fowler said.