Owner whose pit bull was killed by deputy: ‘He didn’t deserve that’ | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Owner whose pit bull was killed by deputy: ‘He didn’t deserve that’

Elaine Goodman

The owner of a pit bull that was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy said Monday that his pet was not dangerous and the officer acted inappropriately.

“My dog was not a violent dog. He was not violent to anybody whatsoever,” said Russell Lee Crupi, owner of the 9-year-old pit bull named Tiger. “He didn’t deserve that.”

Tiger was shot at the scene of a fight Saturday afternoon at the Value Inn motel at 2659 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

According to a statement from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the pit bull jumped onto a deputy’s vehicle and attacked a patrol dog that was inside through an open window, biting its neck.

The deputy shot at the pit bull three times and it died at the scene, authorities said.

But Crupi, who is in charge of maintenance and security at the motel, said what he and other witnesses observed differed from the account from the sheriff’s office.

Crupi said his dog walked up slowly to the deputy’s vehicle — not barking or charging — and placed its paws on the side of the vehicle. Crupi said he was fending off potential assailants and could not immediately call his dog away.

Tiger would not have jumped up because of back injuries remaining from being struck by a car recently, Crupi said. The pit bull only jumped as it was being shot, he added.

El Dorado Sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell on Monday blamed the shooting on Crupi for not having control of his dog.

“(The shooting) was the only way to stop the assault on the dog,” Lovell said. “It aggressively attacked the patrol dog.”

Lovell said the deputy yelled several times for someone to get the pit bull away before he shot it.

“I’m sorry for Mr. Crupi’s loss,” Lovell said. “This event was not the dog’s fault.”

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