Two pit bulls had been occupying the yard after "aggressively chasing" the resident into her house at around 9 a.m., police said. The shooting happened when one of two officers on the scene tried to close a gate and the dogs responded by approaching the gate and barking.
The dogs hesitated when the officers admonished them with "No! No!" but as the officers backed up, one dog resumed barking and lunged so both officers shot once, Commander Dave Bertini said.
One round hit the dog in the head. It went down for a few seconds, got back up, circled and then both dogs fled to a yard down the street, where they were contained, Mr. Bertini said.
The dogs' 20-year-old owner apologized and said the dogs get free "all the time" despite best efforts to contain them, Mr. Bertini said.
The Humane Society evaluated the injured dog, which the owners took to an animal hospital for treatment, police said.
The Humane Society "could have issued a License Required citation, but did not feel this was right considering the eight-month-old dog was just shot in the face and the owner was dealing with that," spokesman Scott Delucchi told the Almanac. "I think it's important to note that we have no prior history on these dogs."
Neighbors called the dogs a neighborhood problem, Mr. Bertini said. Police were asked why they didn't use electro-shock weapons or batons to quell the dogs. Menlo Park police don't carry shock weapons, and using a baton would have meant getting too close to the dogs, Mr. Bertini said.