Sacramento officer shoots dog at homeless encampment along American River

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- A grand theft case led officers to a homeless encampment at the end of North 10th Street and the American River.

There is no shortage of dogs in the area. A big reason homeless people are reluctant to go to shelters is that they cannot take their pets with them.

There is typically ample warning to those on the trail to beware but on Thursday, one officer was caught off guard.

"An aggressive dog broke loose from its chain and charged at one of our officers,” said Sacramento Police Sgt. Sabrina Briggs.

The officer drew his gun and fired three or four times, according to witnesses.

The dog was hit in the leg and transported for treatment by animal control.

Leash laws apply on the public trail but the owner said the large dog, which was some sort of German shepherd or husky mix, was on its chain.

"You can count any aggressive animal toward you that could cause serious bodily injury to you,” Sgt. Briggs said. “It's a very quick decision our officers have to make.”

Rahshaunn Rucks is homeless and has his own dog. He says his neighbor’s dog bit him on the backside several months ago.

"I went to the hospital and everything,” he told FOX40. “I knew it was going to happen. It was a matter of time.”

Police are constantly telling people on the trail, whether they are homeless or recreational users, to keep their animals secure and watch out for others.

"I know there's a lot of community members who use the bike trails,” Briggs said. “We just got to be aware of everything, especially involving any of the homeless encampments.”

Any time a police officer fires a gun, a thorough investigation is held to determine what decisions were made and why.

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