GREENACRES, Wash.— A deadly dog shooting and deputy attack in Spokane County sparked debate Wednesday night online as KREM 2 News viewers wondered whether the deputy was trespassing.
A Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputy was bit twice by a pit bull in Greenacres. The dog was shot and killed during the struggle.
The encounter happened when Deputy Ryan Smith says he was trying to return a set of keys and a hat to the homeowner's son. Authorities said they gave the homeowner's son a courtesy ride home on Sunday after he was found drunk and lost.
Smith said he entered private property trying to give back the items, when the dog attacked him. Brad Beck owns the property where the dog was shot. Beck said that there were multiple signs on his property warning people about the dog.
Beware of Dog signs surround the property, but authorities said the Beck’s are missing a critical sign for the case to be considered trespassing.
KREM 2 News called multiple law enforcement agencies and attorneys on Thursday. Both groups said the deputy was not trespassing when he crossed into the Beck’s yard. Authorities and attorneys cited two reasons. First, there was not a No Trespassing sign. Second, the deputy was on the Beck’s property for professional business.
“He went out there with the intent of helping them out,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. “The dog is the one who attacked him.”
However, Beck said the deputy would not have been attacked by the seven-year-old American pit bull, Cash, if he would have stayed off his property.
Sheriff Knezovich said the deputy was trying to do the Beck’s a favor.
“This is called doing your job,” added Knezovich.
Authorities said Smith went to the home to return keys to the homeowner’s son. Knezovich said Smith did not feel comfortable leaving the keys outside of the gate next to the road.
Yet, Beck argued the Knezovich’s stance.
“He didn't need to be there and that's all there is to it,” added Beck during a Wednesday interview.
Beck said warnings like the Beware of Dog sign should have been enough for the deputy to stay back. However, Smith told authorities he thought there was an electronic fence on the property to contain the dogs.
“He did see an electronic dog barrier,” added Knezovich. “He figured the dogs weren't coming across it. He thought it'd be safe to walk up to the house and take care of the property.”
Instead, the dog charged the deputy.
“The pit bull broke the barrier, attacked the deputy,” described the Sheriff. “Bit him in the legs. He ended up landing on his back. He was bit on the arm.”
Knezovich said the deputy was terrified the dog was going to go for his throat. The deputy also tried to use his baton to fight the dog off. When that did not work, Deputy Smith fired three shots according to authorities.