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Pit bull owner charged after dog shot by security officer

6:09 AM, Aug 8, 2007   |    comments
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Michael Hardy faces two counts; owning a vicious dog and having a dog at large. Both counts are considered a first offense, because the dog had not been reported to animal control before.

The incident happened around 10:30 p.m. on July 30 in the Alton Park development just south east of Leetsdale Drive and East Mississippi Avenue.

The security guard says he was driving by the neighborhood on his way to his next stop. He told Arapahoe County Sheriff's investigators he heard a loud noise and believed his marked SUV was hit by an object, so he stopped and got out.

When he got out of his car, the guard says Hardy's 8-year-old pit bull, Socks, attacked.

Witnesses told deputies the security guard tried fighting off the dog and even yelled that he would shoot the dog if it did not stop. When no one responded to his calls for help, the guard says he pulled out his gun and fired a single shot. The dog was hit in the right shoulder.

Investigators say the dog scampered off and laid down in a yard about a block away. An Arapahoe County Animal Control officer took her to Deer Creek Animal Hospital for treatment. Veterinarians had to amputate the dog's leg, according to Hardy who contacted 9NEWS on Tuesday night. Custody of the dog has been returned to Hardy.

Hardy says Socks got out of his yard through a loose board in his fence. He says it was the first time she had escaped.

Dog owners can be charged with "running at large" if the dog is not on a leash or in "verbal control" of the owner.

The dog did not have current tags, but according to Arapahoe County Animal Control, Hardy had registered her as a pit bull in 2006.

It is not illegal to own a pit bull in Arapahoe County.

A spokesperson for Arapahoe County Animal Control told 9NEWS the vicious animal charge was filed because the security officer felt threatened.

The officer works for Veteran's Security Services, a Littleton-based security company. VSS is owned and operated by retired military and police officers.

Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies investigated the incident and determined the guard was defending himself.

Hardy told 9NEWS Socks has no history of aggression. He says he does not believe the security guard was ever in danger and should not have fired his weapon in a neighborhood.

Hardy will have to appear in court to face the vicious animal charge. He could be sentenced to anywhere between a $500 to $1,000 fine if he is found guilty.

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