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COLUMBIA FALLS — A pit bull was shot and killed after it attacked Columbia Falls police officers last week, and its owner was arrested on three misdemeanor charges, including owning a vicious dog.

Nicklos Nish, 31, was arrested Friday after Columbia Falls police officers responded to a 911 call of a dog being attacked by a pit bull.

When officers approached Nish and asked him to put the dog in a car, he became verbally combative and the situation escalated, said Columbia Falls Police Chief Clint Peters.

Nish took off running with police in pursuit. Peters said the officers had to deploy their Tasers several times on Nish because he was wearing heavy clothing that prevented the device from attaching to his skin.

When Nish finally did go down, his dog attacked the police officers.

The officers attempted to stop the dog with a Taser, but once the device completed its five-second cycle, the dog continued its attack.

The dog was within inches of an officer when it was shot.

“The dog left the ground and was lunging at an officer when it was shot,” Peters said. “They attempted to use a Taser, but it didn’t prevent the dog from attacking. … A Taser will usually get the dog going in the other direction at least. It was pretty unfortunate that it had to get to that point. It’s on the owner when it comes to behavior of the dog and his decision to be non-compliant. He forced our hand.”

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The Columbia Falls police had had a previous encounter with Nish.

“Our officers knew that he wasn’t law enforcement-friendly and that he owned a pretty aggressive dog,” Peters said.

Nish was charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer and owning a vicious dog.

Peters didn’t know the extent of the injuries to the dog that was attacked by the pit bull.

“It is just an all around sad situation,” Peters said. “It could have been resolved in a simpler way. I am proud of my guys for responding the way they did. Their actions were more than justified.”

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