The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office released gritty body-camera footage showing a deputy shooting and killing a dog.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who's made public-relations hay over the years with his animal-protection antics, told reporters that the video proves the shooting was "justified."
The dog was "in the wrong place at the wrong time," Arpaio said, adding that he should have been contained.
In the video, two officers approach Debbie Holm's Mesa home and inquire about the whereabouts of her son, saying they have an arrest warrant for him.
As she explains that she is not in contact with him, her dog, a pitbull named Blue, starts barking loudly from behind a screen door.
"Let me shut this," she says.
When she opens the screen door, Blue runs out of the house at full speed, wagging his tail furiously. One officer jumps in the back of a truck and another shoots him.
Holm wails: "No! Don't shoot him! You shot him?"
"Yeah," the officer says. "He was going to attack my partner."
Or was he just being friendly? It was a split-second decision by the deputy.
As Blue circles back to the house, the officer in the truck climbs out and asks his partner if he's OK.
"Yeah, I'm good. I'm shaking," the officer replies. "He was right there."
The first officers assures him: "That dog was barreling straight for you. I had my gun out, too."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.