A Virginia county sheriff says he “promptly” killed someone’s pet dog after it attacked his 18-month-old daughter this week, a move that has raised questions about whether he acted appropriately.
Nelson County Sheriff David Hill says in a Facebook post that he “euthanized” the dog on the spot, but didn’t explain whether he shot it or used some other means to end the attack.
The incident happened Sunday, as Hill and his family were “enjoying each other’s company,” Hill said in his post. Nelson County is about 90 miles west of the state capital of Richmond.
“The attack on our daughter was unwarranted. Although the attack happened within feet of accompanying adults, our daughter suffered significant injuries,” Hill said on Facebook.
“The owner of the dog immediately requested that the dog be euthanized as the event transpired,” he wrote. “As requested by the owner, I promptly euthanized the animal to prevent any further harm or attacks on anyone else.”
Hill said his daughter was taken to a hospital for treatment. He did not offer details on her condition. The identity of the people who owned the “family dog” was also not given.
Details of the incident were posted on the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page Tuesday after Hill said he learned a local public official was “questioning if I responded appropriately.” Hill’s post has garnered more than 250 comments in the past day, nearly all supporting his actions.
Media outlets have not identified which local official has criticized Hill, nor have they reported how the dog was killed.
Nelson County Animal Control “gathered the animal” from the scene and is following animal testing protocol, Hill said in his post.
“I personally feel the importance of being transparent and when appropriate, disclose personal matters that may be of public concern,” Hill posted.
Details on the size and breed of the dog were not provided by Hill. However, he did say it had been adopted “years ago” by its owners and had previously displayed signs of aggression, “including two attacks on one of the owners.”
“Our daughter loved this animal, as his name was one of her first words,” Hill said in his post. “...You can never use too much caution when it comes to companion animals that show aggression. If your pets display aggression, please continue to do everything you can to protect your loved ones.”