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Dog's shooting death upsets Fairfax Co. neighbors

Monday - 9/5/2011, 1:59pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - The shooting of a dog by an animal control officer has neighbors in one Northern Virginia neighborhood questioning the move.

The dog -- named Crash -- looked like a pit bull but was a mixed breed. He was shot and killed on Friday by a Fairfax County Animal Control officer responding to complaints of a loose dog on Everglades Drive in the Parklawn section of the county.

Neighbors say Crash was often loose and out and about without a leash, sometimes when owner Tom Tomlo was not home. It was that kind of wandering that prompted calls to animal control.

A neighbor named Marsha, who didn't want her last named used, lives three doors down from Tomlo. She says Crash was not an aggressive dog, and the animal came into her house once just trying to be friendly.

"And that day that he came in my house I got him out with dog biscuits," she says. "Everybody has a stereotype about pit bulls, and I did too until that incident with the dog."

Across the street, Frank Chang says the dog was often loose. He says he has seen the owner riding his bike with his two dogs running loose next to him.

But Chang says he is upset that the animal control officer used his gun to kill the dog.

"We have a firearm being shot in the neighborhood with children possibly around," Chang says.

Chang also says the dog did not appear to be aggressive, and he had even seen the animal playing gently with neighborhood cats.

Crash was on the front lawn of Tomlo's rented home when he was killed. Police say Crash lunged at the animal control officer who approached him, and that's when he was shot.

Marsha says the officer should have had another way to subdue the dog without using his gun.

Tomlo, who has another similar-looking dog named Dodge, did not answer knocks on his door.

A Fairfax County Police spokeswoman says the shooting is under investigation as a matter of routine. She says the shooting of a dog by an animal control officer is a rare occurrence.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)