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Deputy pepper-sprays dog, Sheriff supports action

Published On: Oct 17 2013 12:09:11 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 17 2013 11:12:23 AM CDT
pit bull
RED BLUFF, Calif. -

A Tehama County deputy admits to spraying a pet pit bull in the face with pepper spray.

But his side and a witnesses’ side of the story, don’t seem to match up.

"It makes me like outraged and upset that this officer would just do this," says Lucy Gonzalez, the dog’s owner.

“Just because she's a dog, doesn't make her any less part of our family,” says Gonzalez.

The incident happened Tuesday morning, when a deputy went to leave an eviction notice at the house Gonzalez rents.

She says it happened this way.

"He approached my fence and the dog was running around and it appeared that he was going to pet the dog. But he had mace in his hand, he took a step back and maced her from her face all the way down to her tail."

The Tehama County Sheriff tells us it happened differently.

"The deputy got into the yard, walked past the dog, posted the notice. When our deputy headed back to his vehicle from in the yard, the dog began growling at him. Our deputy used his pepper spray to spray the dog, which we have the lawful ability to do that,” says Sheriff Dave Hencratt.

“Pepper spray is a safe alternative to getting bit by a dog. It does not have long term effects. It's a natural substance,” Hencratt explains.

Gonzalez says her dog, named Flow, hasn’t been the same since.

“She was a little off for the day. Now she wants to bark at people who cross the fence because she doesn't know if they're going to be nice to her or do something like they did yesterday morning,” says Gonzalez.

But the Tehama County Sheriff says his officers have every right to make the decision to use force, for their own safety, at any time.