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Cops: Off-duty officer shot Cane Corso that attacked

Police say the large dog went after the cop's Pekingese, then bit the officer. He shot and killed the unleashed dog.

A DRIED PUDDLE of blood remained on Pine Street yesterday between the curb and a gray Audi parked near 46th.

Sad, residents agreed, but from what they'd heard it seemed that the police officer had no choice.

An off-duty cop walking his Pekingese about 7 p.m. Saturday opened fire on an unleashed Cane Corso that attacked his dog and then bit him when he tried to intervene, police said. Neighbors reported hearing between four and six shots.

Internal Affairs is investigating, as it does whenever a police officer discharges a weapon, but the shooting appears to have been justified, according to Officer Christine O'Brien, a police spokeswoman.

"I don't think this officer is going to face any type of disciplinary action," O'Brien said.

The officer's name was not released. Nor was the name of the Cane Corso's owner, an 86-year-old man who is not expected to be charged.

O'Brien said the Cane Corso - a large, muscular breed that can be used to hunt wild boar - emerged from a rear driveway on 46th Street and pounced on the officer's pint-size Pekingese.

"It attacked his dog. He tries to separate the dogs. He gets bit and ends up shooting the dog," O'Brien said.

The officer's dog was taken to the University of Pennsylvania's Ryan Veterinary Hospital. It was unclear yesterday whether the dog would survive.

Nearby residents said they were more disturbed by the unleashed dog that attacked than by the officer using his weapon.

"I understand people feeling bad for the dog, but, honestly, I might have done the same thing if I had a gun and the dog was attacking me and my dog," said Leah Finnegan, who lives on 46th Street. "What are you going to do? You can't just run away."

Ryan Collerd, a photographer who lives on the block and was on the scene shortly after the shots were fired, said the Pekingese apparently suffered massive head and facial injuries.

"The story here is: Keep your dog on a leash," Collerd said.

The shooting was first reported by the West Philly Local website. A commenter there claimed yesterday that the Cane Corso was named Brewster and that he was walking it for his grandfather Saturday night when the dog broke the leash. That account could not be verified yesterday.

"It's not like it was a bad dog necessarily, but they have that prey instinct. It could've looked like a squirrel to him," said Brenda Bonhomme, a dog-owner who lives on 47th Street. "It's a crazy coincidence that he ran into a Pekingese who had an off-duty officer as its owner."

O'Brien said the officer later went to Jeanes Hospital for treatment of a hand laceration.

"It's just bad all around," Finnegan said.