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Brothers Upset After Off-Duty Officer Pepper-Sprays Their Pit Bull

RIVERBANK (CBS13) - A neighborhood dispute has turned into a dog fight in Stanislaus County, where a police officer is accused of pepper-spraying a dog and the owners say no one is doing anything about it.

They say their neighbor reached over the fence and pepper-sprayed their dog. But it's what he said after that has them fired up.

"Why'd you pepper-spray my dog?" Victor Aceves said he asked his neighbor. "He's in our backyard. There's a fence in between you guys. There's no way your life's threatened."

"Pretty much he said that if he feels threatened, he can do whatever he wants to protect himself."

Victor and his brother Abel were left unable to believe their neighbor could pepper-spray their pit bull over the backyard fence and not be in trouble. But they've got a pretty good idea why.

"I'm pretty sure one of us would be cuffed up or have a ticket right now, but it's the other way around because he's a cop," Victor said.

The spraying happened Sunday.

"He was over here, huddled in the corner, crying in the corner," Abel said of his dog.

Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies who responded say the neighbor told them the dog was charging the fence and that the dog broke through a fence board last week.

The deputies' report shows Sunday the dog never crossed the fence.

"What gives him the right to reach over a fence and spray my dog because he's barking at him?" Abel asked.

John Lindsey, who lives right next to the brothers, said there was no reason to pepper-spray the dog.

"Through a fence? Come on!" Lindsey said. "Their dog's friendly. I've never had problems. That dog's never hurt anybody."

CBS13 tried getting the officer's side of the story, but no one came to the door.

The Stockton Police Department confirmed the officer works there and said he reported the use of force immediately. The case is under a standard internal review.

The sheriff's department says it has turned the case over to Animal Control to follow up on.

As far as the family goes, the brothers say they plan to lock the dog up in the garage whenever they know their neighbor will be in his backyard.

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