The agency says the dog, a Staffordshire bulldog named Ammo, was loose in the yard and bit the deputy twice.
The family says Ammo was on a chain and has never bitten anyone.
“He’s not a vicious dog,” said Robin Lane, 49. “He plays with my grandkids.”
Deputy Matt Kadel went to the house on Adonis Road accompanying a Pasco County building inspector. They were visiting several residences for minimum housing code complaints. The county did not provide details of the complaint, but they generally involve an issue, such as exposed wiring, that could present a health hazard.
Lane said she thought the officials were there because of some problems involving her neighbors. She didn’t know why the deputy had parked in her yard.
The family pet stayed outside, chained to a tree by a big doghouse. He kept burglars away and barked when someone came in the yard.
Lane’s son, Jeremy, heard barking Thursday morning, and when he looked out the window, she said, he saw the deputy raise his gun and shoot Ammo.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the dog lunged at Kadel, biting him on the arm and leg.
“The dog was supposedly on a 12-foot chain,” Doll said, “but (Kadel) was bit about 23 feet from where (the dog) was supposedly chained up.”
He said Kadel went to the hospital for a tetanus shot and then returned to work.
Lane said when she tried to inquire about why the officials were there, Kadel told her, “Just shut up and go in the house.”
Doll said he couldn’t comment on that point because a report of the incident was not complete Thursday afternoon.
But he said deputies have been to the Lane home numerous times in the past, including several calls this year, for issues such as fights and warrant arrests.
Lane says deputies — eight or nine descended on the house after the shooting — told her a thorough investigation of the incident would be done. But she has her doubts after her son discovered a bullet casing in the yard.
“I don’t know how thorough it can be when they don’t even pick up the bullet casing,” she said.
Doll said the dog will be tested for rabies and a use-of-force investigation will be done to ensure Kadel acted properly when he fired his weapon.
“The bottom line,” he said, “is the deputy has the right to protect himself.”