COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Commerce City say they are dealing with a sharp increase in problems with vicious dogs in their city.

Police Chief Troy Smith hastily called a news conference Wednesday night following an incident in the evening in which an officer shot and killed a family pet. It’s the fifth dog they have had to shoot since 2009.

Police said they came to the home of Nikkol Hopkins to investigate a possible child abuse incident when a mastiff-lab mixed breed dog charged out of a home and ran at an officer and then bit his leg.

The officer shot and killed the dog.

(credit: CBS)

Nikkol Hopkins (credit: CBS)

Hopkins keeps a Beware of Dog sign on the fence outside her home. She told CBS4 the officer went too far.

“(The dog) was protecting his yard. He did a little nibble. It wasn’t vicious. And the other cop had told him he should have tasered the dog or something first instead of shooting him,” she said.

Smith was quick to defend his officer’s actions. As CBS4 has reported before, Commerce City officers get training on how to prepare for incidents like this.

“All ranges of force are available to them, but we do encourage them and train them to use alternative methods of force if they have time to react,” Smith said.

Commerce City police say there has been a 28 percent increase in vicious animal attacks and a 34 percent increase in dog bites.

The officer was taken to the hospital and released.

No charges have been filed at this point.

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