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Dog blind in one eye after Bockfest filming

CINCINNATI — Gia, a nearly 2-year-old silver lab, is totally blind in her left eye after owner Colin Barge said she was accidentally shot by a Cincinnati police officer during the Bockfest 5K race in Over-The-Rhine nearly three weeks ago.

CPD said an officer fired two shots at a pit bull who attacked Gia. The dog was pronounced dead at an animal hospital.

Barge said the officer was within two feet of the dogs when he opened fire. He also said an x-ray showed one of the officer’s cartridges had been found in Gia’s left eye socket, causing her to lose vision in her eye.

The department determined that the shooting was a justified use of deadly force.

“The pit bull wouldn’t have stopped until (Gia) died,” Barge said in his first interview since the March 4 incident.

Barge said he was holding Gia on a leash as they stood on a sidewalk watching the 5K runners. A rampaging pit bull ran towards them, according to Barge, who said about five people tried unsuccessfully to pull the pit bull out of Gia.

“She’s screaming trying to get away,” Barge said. “The pit bull has it, it’s clinging to his shaking face.”

Barge said the pit bull also bit his hand.

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A CPD officer ran towards them and determined that he had to use lethal force to stop the dog’s attack.

“He shot the dog off leash the first time and he still hasn’t let go of Gia,” Barge said. “That’s when he fired a second time, which was effective in finally getting the dog to let go of her.”

The CPD said the shooting was not recorded on police body cameras. On Wednesday, the department released body camera video recorded after the shooting.

Footage shows a witness, who told police she volunteered for a pit bull rescue program, said the pit bull was not threatening when he first approached times of Barge’s dog. She said Gia snapped at the pit bull and the pit bull responded.

But Barge insisted it was an “unprovoked attack”.

Gia is recovering. About a week and a half after the shooting, Barge said Gia was taking up to three walks a day. She also finds a part of her personality.

Barge said he doesn’t question the officer’s decision to shoot the pit bull, even though one of those shots left Gia blind in one eye.

“I believe he saved his life,” Barge said.