San Francisco

U.S. Mint Police Shoot Pit Bull That Attacked San Francisco Employee

A pit bull's leg will likely be amputated after the dog allegedly attacked a U.S. Mint employee and two other people outside the Mint building in San Francisco and was shot by federal police.

The dog, named Blue, apparently escaped from its home near the coin factory at 155 Hermann St. along with another pit bull named Luna and attacked a Mint employee as she was walking to work at about 6 a.m., U.S. Mint and San Francisco Animal Care and Control officials said.

The employee fended the dog off with her cane and screamed. A U.S. Mint police officer who was driving by heard her scream and stopped, U.S. Mint spokesman Tom Jurkowsky said.

The dog then attacked a homeless man and a jogger running by. Jurkowsky did not know if the two people were injured.

After that, the dog ran toward the officer, who felt threatened, drew his gun and fired. He hit the dog in the leg, Jurkowsky said.

The dog ran away after being shot and found its way home.

San Francisco Animal Care and Control officials took custody of the two dogs there at the request of San Francisco police. The gunshot to Blue's right leg shattered it, likely requiring amputation, Animal Care spokeswoman Deb Campbell said.

The dogs' owner said both his pitbulls accidentally got out of his home and believes Blue did not deserve to be shot.

"It's hard for me not to be angry," owner Dirk Tacke said. "I have to try and understand his perspective. He may have been scared."

Tacke said Blue is deaf and does not respond to verbal commands. He wonders if police overreacted.

"The guy at the Mint said Blue charged him , which he doesn't do," Tacke said. "He never charges. He runs. He's curious. He might run up to him -- not a mean dog at all."

Tacke will need to refer Animal Care to a veterinarian to treat Blue. After that, whether the owner can get the dog back and under what conditions will depend on the outcome of the San Francisco police investigation and possibly a hearing to determine whether the dog is vicious and dangerous, Campbell said.

San Francisco police and the U.S. Mint are conducting separate investigations into the shooting, Jurkowsky said. San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza referred all questions about the incident to the U.S. Mint in Washington, D.C.

NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle contributed to this report.

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