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Sheriff addresses off-duty cop who shot dogs; CHP quiet

Published On: Feb 03 2014 09:37:41 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 03 2014 11:00:46 PM CST
RED BLUFF, Calif. -

We've been trying to get answers on the story of the two dogs shot by an off-duty Highway Patrol officer in Red Bluff but it's proving hard to determine which agency will be investigating the incident, if any.

We contacted the Northern Division of the CHP Monday who told us that the officer was not under investigation so we should contact the agency that answered the call following the incident. That would be the Tehama County Sheriff's Office.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston spoke with us today in an attempt to answer some lingering questions including whether the dogs were on their owner's property when they were shot.

But deputies say they can't confirm that and neither can the CHP, since there were no witnesses to the Jan. 28 incident.

Johnston said according to the report the Williams off-duty CHP officer, Matt Nelson, said he did everything he could before shooting the dogs.

"He reports that at that time they were aggressive, he bent down, he picked up some rocks, threw them at the dogs, the dogs retreated,” said Johnston. ”As he was jogging back, the dogs again came out, at this point they're more aggressive. He pulled his fire arm and shot both animals."

Johnston said Nelson must have felt threatened for him to fire multiple times.

But again they can’t confirm it since there were no witnesses to the incident.

The Torres family who owned the dogs said they don't understand why the officer would shoot their eight-month-old dogs on their property.

The neighborhood president of The Oaks in Red Bluff said dogs are not required to be on leashes as long as they stay on their owners property.

The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said there is no on-going investigation and couldn't say if the officer acted within CHP rules.

"We would not be involved in an investigation whether he acted within their policy, that is for them to decide not for this office to decide,” said Johnston.

We called the CHP Northern Division Office and their headquarters in Sacramento to ask them about protocol when it comes to officers carrying their weapons off-duty.

We are still waiting for a response.