Former sheriff and city councilman shoots, kills dog attacking his pet

COLUMBUS, Ind. –A former Bartholomew County sheriff and Columbus city councilman described himself as upset and hurting after being forced to shoot and kill a dog that was attacking his pet.

Kenny Whipker was walking his pet beagle, Tina, on a leash at 2:15 p.m. Monday in a residential area near Ninth and Lafayette streets when Whipker said he heard growling and saw a German shepherd mix go after the beagle.

“I tried to get in between them, but the dog latched onto my dog and bit her, and then bit her again,” said Whipker, who served as county sheriff from 1999 to 2006 and as a city councilman from 2013 to 2015. “We were trying to get away but I felt like I had no other option but to shoot the dog.”

Whipker is a certified public safety officer in Indiana and works for the Indiana Department of Correction, carrying a 9mm handgun as part of his work, he said.

Police were called to the area by a witness to the incident who reported shots fired, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman. Officers came upon Whipker and people from the neighborhood near where the dog was shot, he said.

Investigators still were interviewing witnesses Tuesday before filing a completed report, but Harris confirmed basic facts regarding the incident.

Whipker said that he had just returned to his Franklin Street home after being at work Monday and immediately headed out to walk Tina, still carrying his police identification and the gun, which are part of his uniform for work.

The German shepherd’s owner told police that the dog had escaped through the home’s front door, Harris said. Police said witnesses told them the dog ran across the street toward Whipker and Tina, and began biting the beagle.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s print edition of The Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.