Police responding to a domestic dispute found themselves face-to-face with a barking and aggressive German Shepherd, video shows.
Now the city of St. George, Utah, is considering whether to euthanize the dog.
An officer with the St. George Police Department went to a house just before 6:30 p.m. on May 3 after a dispatcher received a 911 call from a woman who appeared to be arguing with a man, according to police. A taxi driver had also called 911 around the same time, police say, and said someone requested a ride for a drunk man "beating up" a woman at the house.
When the cop arrives, a man, woman and dog are seen through the glass door, according to body camera footage. The woman opens the door and, referring to the man, yells, "I want him out!"
That's when Champ, a German Shepherd owned by 44-year-old Willie Mosher, darts out of the house, The Spectrum reported.
Body camera footage shows the dog leap at the officer before running to the front of the lawn.
Mosher tries to tell the dog to "come here," the video shows, and a second officer arrives in a police cruiser.
The second officer's body camera captures the moment when Champ come at him. Champ is seen lunging and barking at the officer as he yells "I'm going to shoot your dog! Grab him!" The dog walks away from the officer for a few seconds before lunging again.
Mosher takes Champ near the front of the house — but the dog gets away and walks toward the second officer a third time.
The first officer finally uses a stun gun on the German Shepherd when it walks toward him, the video shows. Champ wails out in pain and writhes on the lawn as Mosher, who police say was drunk, realizes what happened.
Champ runs away and the officers tell Mosher to sit down. Cops continue to ask the man if he and the woman were fighting, the video shows, but he denies any altercation and continued to ask where his dog is.
"I coulda shot your dog at the door when it came at me and bit at me," the first officer says, "(the second officer) could have shot at your dog there. We're not talking about the dog anymore, you understand?"
Police arrested Mosher that day and charged him with trespassing and assault, among other charges, according to The Salt Lake City Tribune. Animal control seized Champ and officials with the city of St. George ruled the dog should be euthanized.
That decision sparked outrage among family members, friends and other community members on social media, The Salt Lake City Tribune wrote.
Brady Mosher, the brother of Willie, defended the German Shepherd as "gentle."
"A lot of people love Champ and had a bunch of people there advocating today," he wrote on Facebook. "Ive seen some crazy stuff before but this is the most UNJUST thing I've ever seen.
"I am a huge dog guy and am sick to my stomach over this," he continued. "I have no idea how anybody who is decent could make this decision and it boggles my mind that there are people like this that exist. I can't even wrap my head around it!!"
Following the outcry, the city of St. George agreed to hold off on killing Champ and said it will bring in "a third-party animal behavioral expert to perform an assessment on the dog to determine the next course of action."
But Willie's mother Deb, who told The Spectrum that "Champ's never gone after anybody," said she's concerned that Champ won't handle the meeting with the third-party expert well, either.
"This dog was tasered. He's been kept at the animal shelter for two weeks," she told the newspaper. "They haven't allowed any family member to see him. They don't even know if the barb from the taser is still in him.
"I think for them to call whoever they're calling without a family member there to at least reassure him is a really unfair way to handle this."
Some on the St. George Police Department's Facebook page defended the actions of police.
"Yikes. As a German Shepherd Dog owner, handler, trainer, and breeder, I'd say the dog was acting aggressively, though likely was more afraid and frustrated from the fighting going on in the home then being allowed out with a stranger," one user wrote. "Good call from the SGPD officers, quick actions, and incredibly kind of them to tase the dog instead of putting him down.
"The dog is likely not actually aggressive, more likely poorly bred, poorly socialized and poorly trained. All on the owner."
Another user agreed, writing that Mosher "had plenty of opportunities to put the dog in the house."
"The officers did nothing wrong and in fact showed a lot of control," she added.
Some said that Champ shouldn't lose his life.
"The dog did what any dog would do...if you're a dog owner you'd know that," she wrote. "I do agree Willie should've gotten Champ under control but he could barely get himself under control. Champ does not deserve to die for his owners actions."