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Springs Police say officer who shot pit bull feared for his safety, followed law

Springs Police justifies officer's actions after pitbull

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - On Tuesday the Colorado Springs Police Department said one of its officers was justified when he shot a pit bull in the owner's backyard Sunday afternoon.

"Whenever a dog aggressively comes at an officer, they have a decision to make about their own safety," Lt. Catherine Buckley, the department's spokeswoman, said. "In this situation when the dog aggressively advanced at the officer, the officer had to take steps in order to protect himself and the other officer who was there on scene."

Patrick Lawrence, the dog's owner, argues his pit bull was not the aggressor.

"The officer started the confrontation because he came through a gate that was closed and got beware-of-dog signs up," Lawrence remarked.

In the spring of 2013 the Colorado State Legislature passed the Dog Protection Act.

The legislation mandates police departments across the state go through training on how to interact with and best read a dog's behavior when confronted with the animals in the field.

According to Buckley, more than 90 percent of the officers on the CSPD force have taken the training since the law passed.

"By this end of this month all of our officers will have attended the three-hour training," Buckley said.

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