A San Jose police officer shot and killed a large pit bull named "Bully" after the animal bit him early Wednesday morning as he was investigating reports of three suspects breaking into mailboxes.
Officer Albert Morales said the officer said he was bitten just after 1:30 a.m. as he was performing a followup investigation into mailbox thefts. Someone had called 911 to say that mailboxes were being broken into.
As the officers were driving to the address on La Barbera Drive, Morales said they saw the suspects fleeing in a car.
The officers tracked what they believed was that car to the 500 block of North 3rd Street in the Japantown neighborhood. A records check of the vehicle showed the registered owner of the vehicle was on searchable probation. So, they began a probation search and talked to a woman at the home.
As police were talking to the woman, a "large pit bull" appeared from the basement and began to bite an officer, Morales said. Fearing for the life of the officer, other officers killed the dog.
A woman who said she is the dog's owner did not want to go on camera, but she did tell NBC Bay Area that she is upset.
"The cops were wrong," she said. "They shouldn't have been at the house. They should never have shot my dog."
Mark Thiel, who rents a room in the home where the dog lives, told NBC Bay Area that he never had problems with the dog, but added: "He wasn't the world's friendliest dog" either.
Later in the day, police arrested two suspects - Brandon Groover and Teddie Fox - for mail theft. One was on probation for a previous crime. Morales told NBC Bay Area that Groover lived at the home where the pit bull was killed.
In Southern California, a controversy erupted this month when a Hawthorne police officer killed a Rottweiler - which was captured on a YouTube video now seen more than 5 million times - when the dog jumped from an open car window and lunged at officers during a SWAT standoff with armed robbers. The dog was killed when he jumped out of the car and began attacking police, who had just handcuffed his owner, all of which was caught on a bystander's video. It turned out that the man, Leon Rosby, had sued the police department for excessive force. But police have said that Rosby was cuffed because he was walking too close to a dangerous situation.
NBC Los Angeles interviewed the witness who shot the video who said that Rosby was being provacative with police, saying, "where's the black cops and the Hispanic cops?"
In San Jose, the officer who was bitten went to the hospital, but is expected to live. Police are still continuing with the mail theft investigation.