A Nashville man who claims he “feared for his safety” shot an unleashed dog in a park earlier this week, according to NewsChannel 5. The incident has sparked controversy among residents and dog lovers.
Man shot unleashed German Shepherd dog out of fear
On Wednesday morning, a couple was walking with their German Shepherd dog at Percy Warner Park. The dog was not on a leash, which is against park rules. However, one witness, Ariana Kaufman, told the news outlet that the dog appeared friendly and was wagging their tail.
“It looked like a really sweet dog, and I started petting the dog — playing with the dog,” said Kaufman.
Then, she went on her way. Suddenly, she heard a commotion.
“I heard a gunshot behind me, ” Kaufman said. “I turn around, and a man has a gun out, and the dog is dead. He continues to shoot the dog five more times.”
Dog parents, witness shocked
At the sound of the gunshots, the dog’s parents came running, aghast.
“They said: ‘Did you shoot my dog?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ Then they asked: ‘Did you kill my dog?’ and he said, ‘Yes — he got too close,’” Kaufman told the news outlet.
The man walked away, so Kaufman called 911. Local police arrived and interviewed the man, who apparently had a handgun carry permit. Ultimately, it appears the authorities let him go without charges.
“Just because a dog’s not on a leash does not give someone a right to kill a dog,” NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo said. Rather, an “imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death” must be present.
“It all turns on whether that was a reasonable response to the actions of that dog,” Leonardo said.
Kaufman does not believe the shooting was justified.
“Absolutely not — there’s no reason,” she said.
The incident appears to have impacted her deeply. “The whole day. I just sobbed,” she said. “It’s such a shock.”
A memorial for the dog — a bandana and a card — is all that remains from the ordeal at the park.
NewsChannel 5 reports that the police say the case is not closed.