JANESVILLE

A Rock County sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded a dog that charged at him Monday night, but the owners say it didn’t happen that way.

The deputy was trying to serve civil papers to a resident at 1121 Johnson St. when a German shepherd charged at the deputy, who drew his weapon and shot the dog in the leg, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Tom Reed said he had taken his 4-year-old dog, Sky, outside with him for his evening smoke when the dog was shot.

Reed and the officer couldn’t see each other, but two outside lights were on around the corner of the house, where Reed was standing, about 8 feet from where the shooting happened, Reed said.

The deputy should have been able to hear the dog’s chain rattling as the dog walked toward him, and see Reed’s shadow on the nearby garage, Reed said.

“I think it’s unjustified, what they did to my dog,” Reed said.

Reed said he followed the dog as it walked toward the officer, and the first indication of trouble was the gunshot and muzzle flash.

Reed said he “panicked,” ran inside, grabbed his gun and yelled, “Who’s out there?”

The deputy then identified himself, the first words he heard from him, Reed said.

“She did not charge. She walked over there. I watched her walk over,” and Sky did not bark or growl, Reed said.

The bullet hit Sky in a front paw, removing a large piece of the paw, Reed said. She was taken for veterinary treatment.

Capt. Jay Wood of the sheriff’s office said one shot was fired.

It appears the deputy, Dan Peters, followed proper procedures, but that question remains under review, Wood said.

The dog was chained, but it was in a dark area, so Peters did not see the chain, Wood said.

“He just saw the dog come at him, and he reacted,” Wood said.

He said deputies often encounter aggressive dogs, but usually the deputy is able to retreat to a squad car and/or the owner gets the animal under control.

It’s OK for a deputy to shoot a dog if it’s charging in an aggressive manner and there’s no other way for the deputy to protect himself, Wood said.

Wood said deputies carry Tasers, but the dog was coming at him quickly, and Peters was in danger of great bodily harm.

“He had to make a choice to defend himself,” Wood said.

Asked to react to the family’s version of the story Tuesday afternoon, Wood said he wasn’t there, and he was still reviewing the report, but there were no indications of any “irregularities.”

No one was cited or arrested in the incident, and the civil papers were served on a resident of that address, he said.

The papers were a notice of a court hearing and an order to show cause in a civil proceeding, Wood said.

April Reed, Tom and Penny’s daughter, has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $2,000 for veterinary bills.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse