Police officers shot and killed a pit bull this morning after it charged them and bit one, police said.
Officers Kenneth Sharp, 45, and Scott Laaninen, 30 were investigating a complaint about a dangerous dog running loose in an alley behind its owner's house.
The officers saw the dog try to bite someone. The dog, Patches, charged as they got out of their cruisers and bit Sharp on the left hand before the officers opened fire and killed it, the St. Petersburg Police Department said.
Police described Sharp's injury as minor.
The female pit bull was owned by Melissa Stewart, 1315 James Ave. S.
She said she has no idea how the dog got loose. "I believe someone might have come in the yard and let her off her chain because her chain isn't popped ... ," Stewart said. "So how did my dog get loose? I don't know."
Police said there also were complaints about the dog Thursday and Monday, but no one responding to the complaints could find the dog or its owner.
Neighbor Angela Barnes says she was bitten by the dog as she walked down the alley on Saturday.
"He grabbed a hold of my leg ... . It's all bit up," she said.
There has been no decision on whether Stewart will face charges, police said.
It is police department policy for the internal affairs division to investigate the shooting.