LaGRANGE, Mo. (WGEM) -- The LaGrange Police Department is defending the actions of its officers highly criticized by the community after a video surfaced on YouTube and Facebook showing its officers shooting an American Bulldog in the head.
LaGrange Police Chief Dale McNelly told WGEM News the two officers involved in the shooting of the dog are not currently facing any citations, but said the St. Louis Humane Society is conducting their own investigation and the police will be undergoing retraining to learn how best to handle future situations.
McNelly defended his officers actions and says that shooting the dog was a necessary last resort.
"They had a difficult situation," McNelly said. "And really it's hard to say and second guess when you're not there. And I believe they did what they had to do and I'm going to stand behind them on that point."
Chief Dale McNelly says his officers we're forced to shoot the American Bulldog owned by Marcus Mays because the dog was being aggressive and wouldn't cooperate.
"We don't have an option to let the dog go if it's an aggressive or vicious dog and if we can't load it or get it somewhere where we can put it in confinement, then we have to handle the call right there."
He also says the YouTube video doesn't paint a true picture of what happened, including the dog acting aggressively towards officers during an attempt to load the dog into the truck. He said the dog was also acting aggressively off camera.
"A lot of the aggressiveness from what I saw, part of it was off camera," McNelly said.
McNelly says shooting an animal is a last resort, he called the officers animal lovers and said they were upset with what they felt they had to do.
"You know, I'm not saying it's a perfect scenario because we don't ever want to go around shooting people's pets and that's not what we're about," McNelly said. "What we do is we have to control the situation at the time."
While neither of the officers involved has been reprimanded, a full investigation of their actions is underway.
"What we're asking the Humane Society of the State of Missouri to do, to come in and scrutinize what we've done to make sure what we've done is what had to be done at the time."
The owner of the dog, Marcus Mays, appeared in court Thursday on a citation of not having his animal properly restrained and not having his animal registered. He was found guilty of both charges and now faces a fine.
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