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Pit bull fatally shot by sheriff's deputies hunting for armed man

September 18, 2011 |  9:02 am

Sheriff's deputies shot and killed a pit bull in Norwalk after it attacked a dog accompanying the deputies on a search for an armed man, authorities said.

The deputies were searching for a man with a gun after the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department received a call about gang members, one of them armed, at nearby Hermosillo Park at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

After spotting an armed man in a backyard in the 12000 block of 161st Street, the deputies asked a resident of the home to secure a pit bull so that they could search the yard, but the dog ran into the street and attacked the sheriff's K-9, the sheriff's department said.

A deputy shot the pit bull, which later died. The deputies' dog, Tosca, was expected to survive.

Eddie Perez, the pit bull's owner, told KABC-TV Channel 7 that he didn't believe deputies needed to kill his animal and that he had hired an attorney.

"I'm telling the sheriff's, 'Taser my dog, Taser my dog.' His exact words were, 'No, shoot that [expletive] dog,' " Perez said.

A statement from the sheriff's department said the pit bull's "aggressive and violent nature" forced the deputy to shoot it to protect the police dog and community residents.

Deputies arrested three gang members for alleged parole violations after a search of the neighborhood, and a resident of the house where the pit bull lived found a gun in the yard shortly after the incident, the sheriff's department said.

-- Abby Sewell