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Another dog shot with pepper spray

A Park City man shot a dog with pepper spray May 27, the second time in about two months he has done so, prompting the dog owner in the most recent case to attack him, according to the man and the authorities.

The latest confrontation occurred a little before 8 p.m. on the paved trail on the edge of City Park, near Miners Hospital, the police said. Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said a husband and a wife, who are each 50 years old and have an address in Old Town, were walking the dog off leash when the dog was shot with pepper spray.

The man with the pepper spray, Bob Berube, said in an interview that he was walking to the Main Street post office from his Prospector home with his longtime girlfriend. He said the two people had two unleashed dogs with them. The pets were in the grass next to the people, but one of the dogs "took off running directly at us," Berube said.

The two people ordered the dog to return to them, but it did not respond to the command, he said. The dog approached Berube, and he fired the Halt! pepper spray he carries on walks.

"I don’t spray every dog off leash . . . I only spray a dog when it comes at me," Berube said.

The Police Department did not have information about the breed.

The woman then hit Berube "as hard as she could" with the back of her fist in the center of the base of his rib cage, according to Berube’s account. He threatened to spray the woman in the face with the pepper spray, and she swore at him "quite profusely" before he called the police on a cell phone, he said.

He told her he had used pepper spray against the dog. She told him she had heard of the earlier incident involving Berube and an unleashed dog, he said.

The police referred the case to city prosecutors for screening. If charges are filed, the prosecutors could consider assault and dog-at-large counts. It is unclear whether prosecutors could bring charges against Berube. City Hall attorneys by Monday had not received the case.

The police did not release the names of the people with the dogs.

Kirk acknowledges the two cases are "unusual."

Berube in late March shot an unleashed yellow Labrador with pepper spray near the same place as the second incident. In the March case, Berube said, the Labrador trotted 50 or 60 feet ahead of the woman walking the dog. It got within a few inches of Berube before he shot. The woman swore at him and was "appalled," he said afterward.

The police at the time indicated people have the right to defend themselves against unleashed dogs. People do not need to wait until a dog becomes aggressive, the police have said. In the earlier incident, the police ticketed the person with the dog, not Berube.

Unleashed dogs have long challenged Park City, with many people refusing to follow leash laws and choosing instead to walk their dogs without leashes. Some say that is in keeping with the mountain-town atmosphere, but the critics say there are many people, including children, who become nervous near loose dogs. A leash law is in effect throughout Summit County.

Park City officials are preparing to build a dog park at Quinn’s Junction. The opening is slated for July, at the earliest.


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