Pensacola, Florida -- A man protecting his chickens shot and killed a golden retriever near a bustling commercial area Wednesday after trying to chase it away, Escambia Sheriff's deputies reported.
Escambia County Animal Control officials said no citations are warranted in the unusual incident that involved the immediate defense of property.
Al Diamond, administrative supervisor for animal control, wants to make sure people don't take away the wrong message.
"This was a special case," he said. "It certainly doesn't mean you can shoot a dog if he walks over and poops in your yard. It also doesn't mean you can shoot a dog because you can't use your barbecue whenever you want."
Deputies were called to Floral Tree Gardens _ behind University Mall and across from the Trade Winds Shopping Center _ shortly before 1 p.m., when someone spotted Henry Pearson dumping a bagged dog in a nearby trash container.
The dog belonged to Heather Marie Champitto, who resides in the 600 block of Burgess Road, a sheriff's report stated.
Pearson told deputies he filed previous complaints about animals attacking his chickens with animal control, and that on Wednesday, he chased the dog away once before fetching his .22- caliber rifle.
"(Pearson) seemed visibly upset about having to shoot the dog," the report stated.
Champitto, distraught over her dog's death, told deputies she could understand the action because the dog had gotten loose, according to the sheriff's report.
"Technically, under Florida statutes, he was within his legal right to protect his life or his property," said Lt. Bob Clark, sheriff's spokesman.
No charges were filed.
Diamond emphasized that it is illegal to use lethal force against a domesticated animal if the threat can be avoided in any other way _ such as entering one's home and closing the door, he said.
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