Deputies of the Washington County Sheriff's Office responded to 454 Oak Grove Road, Gray, about 1:30 a.m. Monday after receiving a report of a physical domestic disturbance at that address.
The deputies were told upon arrival by the alleged victim, an unidentified girlfriend of Terry Allen Kelly, 50, who resides at the Oak Grove address, that Kelly had been assaulting her.
Officers were at first unable to enter the house because a pit bull was acting aggressively, preventing access.
The woman removed the dog for the officers' safety, according to a report from the WCSO.
Deputies then proceeded to take Kelly into custody, but the pit bull came back into the house while Kelly was reportedly refusing to cooperate with orders to lie down on the floor.
The dog came within 3 feet of one of the deputies, and Kelly ordered it to "bite," according to the sheriff's office.
In a report, the deputy said the dog came directly toward him, attempting to bite him. The deputy fired his gun at the animal "striking the dog in the top of the head ending the aggression."
The animal did not die immediately and was taken away by Washington County Animal Control. Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said the dog died sometime later Monday morning.
No deputies were injured as a result of the incident.
According to the victim of the alleged domestic assault, Kelly had been training the dog to attack.
Kelly was being held in the Washington County Detention Center.
He was charged with aggravated assault, domestic violence and resisting arrest.
His bond was set at $27,000.
Graybeal said he thought the deputy who shot the dog had no choice, and in his opinion the deputy acted appropriately.
"I think that's probably the most dangerous call that an officer goes on," Graybeal said of domestic disturbances.