A San Jose police captain has shot and killed a pit bull named Buddy after he said the dog rushed a county employee who was part of a group out on a homeless camp fact-finding mission.
Sgt. Jason Dwyer said the captain fatally shot the dog about 12:20 p.m. Wednesday at a homeless camp along Monterey Highway near Capitol Expressway because the pit bull was unleashed and looked as though it was about to attack a member of the homeless fact-finding group.
That account varies from two homeless women that NBC Bay Area met up with later in the day. They said that Buddy was on his leash and was a harmless dog. Buddy was "chained up and collared," one woman said. "What gives anyone the right?"
But Dwyer insisted the dog was acting dangerously toward a Santa Clara County mental health employee.
"The pit bull was not secured," Dwyer said. "It was loose, and he was about to attack. That's when he fired at the dog."
He added that the dog had "zeroed in" on the county worker and had "charged at him." It was only then, Dwyer said that the captain "drew his sidearm" to defend the worker who was "clearly in fear for his life."
The police captain, mental health professionals, member of the city's housing department, homeless advocates and San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen's staff were there to inspect the camp, and provide or refer services for those in need.
Noelle Vergara, a policy analyst in Nguyen's office was there, though she didn't see the near-attack or the dog getting killed. She said she was walking behind the police captain along Capitol Expressway near Snell Avenue and Monterey Highway, when all of a sudden, she heard "four or five" gunshots.
She said the captain told her and others "it was best to stay back and walk to our cars."
Captain Jay Terrado of San Jose's Animal Care Services said he believes the brown and white dog weighed at least 80 pounds and he recognized the animal from an encounter last year.
That's when he told the dog's owner that he was un licensed and needed to have confirmation of rabies and vaccinations.
Buddy's body will undergo a necropsy, Terrado said, and when that is done the owner has said he wants the body back.
Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758. Follow her at Twitter.com/ljfernandez.