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CA Animal Control Officer Mauled by Pit Bulls - Police Officer Shoots Dog

ANIMAL WATCH-On Tuesday morning, March 19, a Clearlake, CA, police officer requested immediate assistance from Animal Care and Control to capture two loose aggressive Pit Bulls that had threatened a pedestrian and bitten another. 

The Clearlake Police Department stated that at approximately 8:41 a.m. officers were dispatched to Olympic Drive and Cottonwood Street where two aggressive Pit Bulls had approached a woman walking on the sidewalk. A passing driver stopped and urged the woman to get into the car to avoid an impending attack. However, the Pit Bulls’ attention then focused on a nearby male pedestrian, who was bitten. 

Upon arrival at the scene, one of the police officers requested an Animal Control Officer to assist. During the effort to capture the dogs, the Animal Control Officer was knocked to the ground. Police reported that the Pit Bulls began attacking the Animal Control officer, causing multiple punctures and lacerations. 

The police officer fired a single shot from her service weapon, fatally wounding one dog and stopping the attack to save the ACO’s life. The other Pit Bull was then contained, according to Lake County News. 

Emergency medical personnel transported the Animal Control officer to the hospital for treatment and she has since been released. The man who was bitten was able to leave the scene after receiving treatment for his injury. The surviving Pit Bull is in the custody of Animal Care and Control during an on-going investigation. The owner of the dogs has been identified. 

Clearlake Police Chief Andrew White said the names of the Animal Control officer and police officer were not being released at this time. 

The female police officer is not on administrative leave, because department policy allows for destruction of an animal “in circumstances where the animal reasonably appears to pose an imminent threat to human safety and alternative methods are not reasonably available or would likely be ineffective.” 

No officer wants to harm or shoot a dog, but both Clearlake officers exhibited exemplary bravery for public safety. This was not the only time a female officer saved another from a Pit Bull attack, but it is a chance to thank women who do these tough jobs as a lifetime commitment to public safety and protecting the innocent. 

Pit Bull Attacks LA County Animal Control Officer, Sheriff’s Deputy Shoots Dog 

A Sheriff’s Deputy was forced to shoot an attacking Pit Bull on when it lunged for the throat of Los Angeles County Animal Control Officer Mireya Martinez on Nov. 20, 2012. Officer Martinez was attempting to capture the dog after it killed a Chihuahua on Ramsey Avenue in La Mirada. 

Sheriff’s first received a 911 call that the Pit Bull had been fighting with the Chihuahua and the small dog was “hanging from the Pit Bull’s mouth.” 

When ACO Martinez responded, LA County Sheriff’s Deputies stayed at the scene to assist. The Chihuahua’s dead body was lying in the street. The deputies first helped Officer Martinez secure the Pit Bull in a fenced area for public safety and waited until the animal appeared to have calmed down.

However, when she attempted to place a rope leash over the dog’s head it suddenly became agitated and jumped toward the officer’s face and neck. Officer Martinez raised her arm to protect her throat and the dog’s initial contact was mitigated by the officer’s clothing and jacket. 

A female Sheriff’s deputy immediately shot the dog to save the officer’s life. 

Los Angeles County Director of Animal Care and Control Marcia Mayeda stated, “Attacks against animal control officers are always a traumatic event for the officer and other emergency responders. ACO’s devote themselves to protecting public safety through capturing stray and dangerous animals. Being the victims of such attacks themselves further jeopardize community safety.” 

RECENT TRAGIC PIT BULL ATTACKS REQUIRING POLICE SHOOTINGS 

Two Pit Bulls Kill Their Owner at Animal Hospital, Shot by Police 

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, police officers shot two Pit Bulls that had attacked and fatally wounded their owner at an Irving, TX, animal hospital, when she came to "play with the dogs," which were quarantined for an earlier bite incident.  

The police were forced to use their weapons because the dogs would not allow first responders to approach the victim, Johana Villafane, 33, who later died from her injuries

Employees of the O'Connor Animal Hospital said they became concerned when they had not seen Villafane for a while. They went to the area behind the hospital around 11:45 a.m., where they found her laying on the ground, bleeding, while the dogs continued their attack. 

The employees called 911 and when police arrived the pit bulls were still mauling Villafane. She was pronounced dead when she arrived at a local hospital, FoxNews4 reports. 

"The dogs were involved in an incident earlier in the month in which they bit someone," Irving PD Officer David Dickinson told Fox4News, "... it's my understanding that she was walking the dogs when the event occurred." 

Neighbors Tried to Help, but Attacking Pit Bulls Didn't Stop Until Shot 

On February 7, 2019, Delaware News Journal describes how, "Neighbors watched terrified Wednesday night as two dogs viciously mauled women on their block.” Around 6:30 p.m., the pit bulls attacked a 70-year old woman who is their owner and a 20-year-old relative on a front lawn and moved threateningly toward anyone who approached, neighbors said. 

The pit bulls had reportedly pulled the women out of house when they came to the doorway, New Castle County Police said. 

One man drove at the dogs in an SUV with high beams on and horn blaring, but that didn’t stop them.

"Once he got a taste of blood, he was just restlessness. He just would not stop no matter how many times I honked the horn, no matter how many times I aggressively tried to charge at them with my car. Nothing would stop these dogs," the neighbor said. "I've never felt this powerless or this helpless in my life that I just could not help that woman."  

Several people called 911 operator and the first officer arrived shortly. He fired and hit one of the dogs, which turned and fled, police stated in a news release. After the officer shot at the first dog, the other rushed him, but backup arrived. "The officer, along with other officers, then fired at this dog, striking it multiple times —dispatching it almost immediately." 

Animal control was able to capture the injured dog which fled after being shot. It was euthanized due to his injuries, according to the report. 

Both women were hospitalized. The older victim lives on Scottie Lane, and her front steps still were splattered with blood Thursday morning. 

"I really want to commend that first officer. He was by himself," said a neighbor who asked her name not be used. "He put himself between those people and the dogs."  

DO ONLY PIT BULLS ATTACK/KILL? 

Pit Bulls aren’t the only dog breed or breed-type that attacks with the intent to kill, but they are at the top of the list statistically. (See: DogsBite.org and National Pit Bull Victim Awareness.)

In the interest of fair reporting on dangerous dogs, a 1-year-old boy was killed and his grandmother was injured on Friday, March 24, 2019, after being attacked by two Rottweilers that had escaped from a yard in Fresno, CA. Police officers were dispatched about 11 a.m. to the home and performed CPR. The child was then taken by ambulance to Community Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. 

DEFINING PIT BULLS 

The most prominent advocate in the U.S. for Pit Bulls is Best Friends Animal Society, a 50l(c)3, non-profit charity, which has openly lobbied nationwide against any Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), which would restrict pit bull ownership. 

Best Friends defines a “pitbull” on its site, and explains that "Bulldogs" [the term used by dog fighters for pit bulls] originally were bred to be used for the blood sport, called bull baiting,  where "A bull was held in a pit, and the dogs' job was to immobilize the bull, biting it about the head." 

But after this "blood sport" was banned, Best Friends states, "…the dogs went from being prized fighters to family pets." 

Best Friends states that it has “found homes for thousands of pit bull terriers."  

DogsBite.org reports on the fatal mauling of Angela Platt Johnson in Anza, CA on December 15, 2018, when she was viciously attacked by three pit bulls (or pit-bull mixes), as confirmed by Riverside County Animal Control. The victim’s son's description of the injuries which resulted in his mother's death is eerily similar to those which were the Bulldog's “job," as described by Best Friends Animal Society. 

He states, "The dogs basically ate my mom alive, ripping out a main artery in her throat, causing a severe stroke to the left side of her brain, leaving her half brain dead." 

12/19/18: Mauling Victim on Life Support 

Anza, CA - A woman is on life support after a vicious attack by three pit bulls. The attack occurred Saturday in Anza, a rural community in Riverside County about 45 miles south of Palm Springs.

According to a GoFundMe page created by her son, Tim Platt, Angela (Platt) Johnson remains on life support. "The dogs basically ate my mom alive, ripping out a main artery in her throat, causing a severe stroke to the left side of her brain, leaving her half brain dead," Platt states on the page. 

ARE SHELTERS TAKING PRECAUTIONS IN ADOPTIONS? 

On March 22, 2019, Orange County Animal Services (NC) announced that it “has housed 30 dogs since March as evidence for a dog fighting and animal cruelty case.” Eight of the 30 dogs will go on to be re-homed, 22 will be euthanized.” 

According to the report by the Raleigh News+Observer: 

Last March, authorities rescued 30 pit bulls seized in a dogfighting investigation. One year later, some of them have found new homes. 

Orange County Animal Services took in and evaluated the dogs. In the past, all of them would most likely have been euthanized. But over the past year Animal Services was able to arrange for eight of them to be transferred to three animal shelters, then new owners. 

“We were fortunate to be able to partner with trusted and highly respected colleagues in the field of animal welfare during the process of rehoming these dogs,” said Bob Marotto, director of Animal Services. 

“We knew that they would be attentive to not only the needs of the dogs, but also the needs of the families and communities with which these dogs will live out the rest of their lives,” he said. 

Will all members of these communities be told a Pit Bull from a fighting ring will be living next door? 

ARE COURTS PROTECTING PEOPLE? 

“Lawyer Anne-France Goldwater in court to fight for life of dog that attacked 6 people” 

MARCH 21, 2019   The prominent family lawyer and defender of animal rights is trying to persuade the Quebec Superior Court to quash a euthanasia order and allow the dog to be moved to a refuge for dangerous dogs in the U.S. 

Well-known defender of animal rights wants to transfer dog to U.S. refuge for dangerous dogs 

A Montreal lawyer is trying to persuade the Quebec Superior Court that a dog should not be euthanized after it attacked six people, including four children, in Montreal North last year.

Anne-France Goldwater, a prominent family lawyer and well-known defender of animal rights, is asking the court to spare the dog's life and allow it to be moved to a shelter for dangerous dogs in the state of New York. 

The dog, described by police at the time of the attack as an 18-month-old American pitbull weighing 70 pounds, had a history of aggressive behaviour. 

CBC reports, “This dog has been sheltered at Montreal's SPCA since last August, after lawyer Daniel Goldwater obtained an injunction suspending a euthanasia order until after an investigation was complete. 

ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS AND POLICE OFFICER INCREASINGLY ENDANGERED 

The danger to the public is expanding due to the presence of dogs that were bred for the purpose well-known by their staunchest advocates and the insistence that they are safe to be adopted into homes.  You cannot predict a Pit Bull’s behavior from shelter assessments, not matter how experienced you are. 

We have an obligation as a society to provide protection and pay taxes for that purpose.  Why—with the rising number of Pit Bull attack victims--are we allowing critical decisions on dogs with a history of dangerous behavior or who are trained to kill other animals to be made by those who have a huge economic interest in assigning unknown qualities to increase their release from shelters and into our communities due to the “No Kill” movement? 

Many people who adopt Pit Bulls do not have adequate (if any) insurance to cover the costs of the victims’ injuries. And, often the victims do not have health insurance that will cover dog bites. Medical care then becomes an added burden on taxpayers. 

The public should not have to depend increasingly on animal control and police officers to risk their lives to capture and/or shoot Pit Bulls that are maiming and killing—and are often the victims’ own pets.

 

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a contributor to CityWatch and a former Los Angeles City employee.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.