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A mixed-breed dog was fatally shot by a Seattle police officer Tuesday after it bit a house painter and, police say, charged at the officer.

Kim Pace, who shares a house with the dog’s owner, said the neutered 4-year-old dog, named Aries, was one of four that had escaped from the house and wriggled through a weak spot in the fence.

The dogs went to a neighbor’s house in the 3500 block of South Morgan Street and one of them — later identified as Aries — bit a man painting the house, Seattle police said.

The homeowner there called 911 for medical assistance shortly before 1 p.m. and reported that a man had been bitten by a pack of pit bulls running loose in the neighborhood.

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The dogs surrounded the Seattle Fire Department’s ladder truck and several times “charged” medics who tried to reach the victim for treatment, Seattle police said.

Police tried to corral the dogs away from the firetruck, even using Tasers and a fire extinguisher, but they were unsuccessful, police spokeswoman Renee Witt said.

When Aries charged one of the officers, the officer fatally shot the animal, police said.

Pace believes the shooting was unnecessary. She said the dogs were back in their own yard by the time fire and police personnel arrived. Firefighters mistakenly pulled into her driveway, not the neighbor’s, she said. Had medics gone to the right house, the dogs would have stood down, she said.

“They thought they were protecting their own property,” she said.

She also said the victim was not badly injured, that he was “barely scratched.”

The Fire Department said the victim had a bite on his arm. The wound was bandaged at the scene, and the man was directed to get a tetanus shot.

Pace said police knew when they shot Aries that both she and her roommate were on their way home.

She said Aries was not a bad dog and that he had been certified to visit nursing homes as a pet-therapy animal. She acknowledged, however, that the dogs were exhibiting pack behavior when they escaped Tuesday.

Pace said she has two French bulldogs, who did not escape Tuesday. Her roommate has two other rescued American Staffordshire terrier mixed-breed dogs, Athena and Dante. And the household was fostering an abandoned Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix named Bea, she said.

Animal-control officers took custody of Athena, Dante and Bea, police said. The dogs will be held pending further investigation, police said.

The neighbors who called 911, Rickey and Mary Brown, said the dogs had escaped a few times before.

Usually, it was not a big deal, as the owners were home, they said.

On Tuesday, though, the Browns said, the dogs were racing around and even into their house in a lather.

Their 11-year-old daughter
said she was scared when she saw foam around their mouths.

“They were being aggressive,” Mary Brown said.

Homicide and assault detectives are investigating the incident, and the shooting is subject to a review by the department’s Firearms Review Board.

Christine Clarridge: 206-850-4717 or

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