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Police look for owner of dogs that killed cow

Phoenix police are asking for the public's help in locating a dog that earlier this month teamed up with another dog to kill a steer.

Patrol Officer Adam Lewis said that at 8:35 a.m. on Dec. 14, someone walking a dog reported two other dogs chasing a cow in a field in the 2300 block of Houston Road, just west of Phoenix.

Lewis said when he arrived on the scene about five minutes later, he met a woman near the property who told him two pit bulls were chasing a cow and possibly had taken it down.

"As I was heading across the field, I could hear the cow out there bellowing in pain," said Lewis. "I made my way out to where the cow was, and I could see the two dogs were eating it alive, and it was trying to get up and it couldn't."

Lewis said he shot and killed one of the dogs with his rifle as it was feeding on the steer, killing it immediately. The other dog then ran northeast toward the railroad tracks and back into Phoenix city limits.

Lewis said the dogs were clearly in an agitated state and he fired on them rather than put himself at risk.

"I wasn't going to give them a chance to turn on me," he said.

Lewis said he fired on the second pit bull as it ran away, but was certain that he missed it.

A police dispatcher contacted the rancher who owned the steer, but by the time he arrived, the animal had died.

Lewis said he followed the second dog's paw prints toward town.

"I believe the pit bull is from the north end of the city," he said. "I followed the dog's footprints from when it left the field. I could see the muddy footprints from where it went on the railroad tracks."

Police believe the dog's owner may live near North Rose Street, Dano Drive, Dano Way, Barnum Drive or Arana Drive. The dead dog was a female, brown in color with brindle markings, and weighed about 50 pounds.

The dog's body was taken to Jackson County Animal Control, where authorities hoped the owners would come to claim it. Police are hoping to speak with a man and woman in their 20s who did come to animal control and identified the dead dog, but who said that they were only friends with the owners.

The owner of the steer is frustrated, said Lewis.

"He's trying to run a business and he's got dogs killing his livestock," said Lewis. "That's $1,200 he's out."

Jackson County Animal Control could issue a citation to the owner of the dog for a violation of the dangerous dog ordinance, which carries a fine ranging from $100 to $600, said Brittany Whitmire, an enforcement supervisor with Animal Control. The dog owner also could be required to compensate the rancher for his loss.

Lewis said he is concerned that the second pit bull is still on the loose. It's described as light brown or tan and about 80 pounds. Both dogs had collars on and looked well fed and cared for, said Lewis.

"There is another dog out there that now has a taste for blood, and what will it kill next?" he asked. "My objective is to get that other dog off the streets before it kills something else."

Anyone with information that may assist in locating the owner of the dogs is asked to call 541-535-1113. Phoenix police have photos from the scene that are available to anyone who may be able to identify the dog.

Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or avalencia@mailtribune.com.