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LAPD Officer Attacked by Vicious Dog near Echo Park during Investigation – Who’s Next?

ANIMAL WATCH - Two Los Angeles Police Department officers were conducting a narcotics investigation near an apartment house in the 1300 block of Sunset Blvd, according to The Eastsider report on August 10, 2021.

It is unclear whether the officers approached the door or were just nearby when it opened. Although LAPD did not describe the dog, most breeds bark to scare away any stranger approaching their territory.  

The word on the street in Echo Park is that “when the door opened, the dog ran out and just attacked the police officer with no warning.” The breed-type most likely to attack instinctively is a Pit Bull. It is a genetic trait in fighting-breed dogs to not give their opponent -- or victim -- a chance for defense. The intention of the attack without warning is not to frighten them away -- their innate reaction is to cripple or kill.  

Certainly, there are friendly Pits that do not have this strong primitive drive; but if a dog of this breed charges, it is not kidding.  

The officer was able to shoot the dog before sustaining serious injury, according to the LAPD report, and he probably saved more than his own life.  

LAPD Media Relations advised me on August 19 by phone that the officer was released from the hospital and is recovering.  

DOG ATTACKS INVOLVING POLICE -- INCREASING OR GAINING MORE ATTENTION? 

LAPD Officer Shoots Dog in South LA After it Attacked  

Last month, on July 5, 2021, an LAPD Officer shot and injured a dog (no probable breed or physical description provided by the Department) that attacked while they were responding to a vehicle crash in South Los Angeles, near Figueroa St. and 132nd Street, according to CBS.com

The dog was called “a stray,” but it is rare for a stray dog to enter a busy scene and bite (unless it is rabid) because they are generally frightened of humans and just trying to survive,  and they do not have a home/territory to protect -- unless it is a dog that considers any strangers an intrusion. 

The dog reportedly ran from the area after being shot, but was later found and taken into “animal custody” in unknown condition, according to the report. The LAPD officer was transported to a hospital for care. 

Police Officer Saves Boy from Vicious Pit Bull Attack as Victim Pleads, ‘I Don't Want to Die’

On January 11, 2021, CityWatch began the year with this unforgettable report of terror and heroism by an off-duty police officer: 

A bloody year of Pit Bull attacks on children (and adults) ended with one less death, as an off-duty Boston police officer acted valiantly and instinctively to save the life of a helpless 11-year-old boy being mauled viciously in a backyard, illustrating another reason police departments across the U.S. should not be defunded.

The attack occurred in Dorchester, MA, (a Boston neighborhood) around 12:00 p.m. on December 30. The child can be heard screaming "I don't want to die" in raw audio of police radio transmissions provided in an exclusive report by LiveBoston 617. 

The off-duty police officer lives in the community where the attack occurred and, when he heard the screams, he ran immediately to help--jumping over several fences to get to the boy--and radioed for assistance.   

Initial reports were that two Pit Bulls were involved but one ran into the house. However, with one dog viciously mauling the child and another reportedly being constrained with the potential of breaking loose to join in, the officer needed to fire at least one shot as a deterrent, which diffused the attack. (Read more here.) 

Pit Bull Shot by Allen, TX, Officer After Attack on Child and Man 

On August 4, 2021NBC (Dallas) reported, “An Allen police officer opened fire Monday on a pit bull that had bitten a child and a man, the Department said.” (Allen is a northern suburb of Dallas.)

A police statement detailed the incident as follows:  

At 8:30 p.m. Monday, August 2, 2021, Allen Police officers were called to the 700 block of Leading Lane Drive, after one adult and one child were bitten by two pit bulls. Officers located the two pit bulls near the residence. . .and did everything they could to keep the dogs’ attention focused on them and not the bystanders that began to gather. 

One officer, with the use of a catch pole, attempted several times to secure the dogs in his patrol unit, until Animal Control Officers could arrive. During one of the attempts by the officer, the dogs charged him and he was forced to shoot one of them. 

After the shot, the dogs ran away and were located a short time later. The dog that was shot was taken to a local animal hospital, and the other was found deceased due to causes unrelated to the gunshot.

Davenport, Iowa, police: Officer Shot Dog After it Attacked Him Continuously 

According to the Davenport Police Department on August 17, 2021, officers responded at 12:16 a.m. to a multi-family apartment complex for a loud music report coming from an apartment. 

After reaching the second-floor landing, the officer saw an apartment door standing completely open and could hear loud music coming from inside.  

A large dog (photo shows a tan-and-white Pit Bull) from within the apartment ran out into the hallway and immediately attacked the officer and continued the attack in the hallway and as the officer attempted to retreat down the stairs.   

Even after the officer left the complex, the dog was still actively attacking him. Once outside, the officer fired his gun, to stop the dog from continuing the attack. 

The officer suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at a local hospital. The dog was taken for veterinary care and survived, according to the report.

POLICE OFFICER SHOOTS VICIOUS DOG AFTER IT ATTACKS TEEN AND THEN OFFICER 

On Apr 24, 2021, a Morris, IL, police officer shot and wounded a dog that attacked a 14-year-old on the street and bit him at least three times on his legs and arm, at approximately 5:15 p.m. The report describes: 

Morris police said the 14-year-old boy was bitten by the dog at least three times on his legs and arm. The dog's owner managed to pull the dog away from the victim and maintain the dog on a leash initially, authorities said. 

"As officers and paramedics arrived on scene, the dog broke out of his leash again and attacked a Morris police officer, "the police department announced on its Facebook page. "The dog latched onto the officer's arm. The officer had to resort to using his service weapon to stop the attack. 

The teenager was taken to the Morris Hospital for treatment of his injuries, and the Morris officer also went to the hospital after suffering a severe injury to his arm, the department announced, according to Patch.com

Omaha Police Department: Officers shoot dog after it attacked 17-year-old girl  

On January 13, 2021, KETV Omaha7 (NB)  reported that an Omaha Police Department officer was forced to shoot a dog that was “biting down on a 17-year-old girl’s leg and would not let go.” The victim was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The incident happened near S 49th and Farnam. 

IT SEEMS POLICE RESPONSE IS INCREASING 

The number of attacks that receive attention by police departments all over the U.S. and where officers are themselves the victims of vicious dogs seem to be increasing dramatically.  

The above are merely a few covered by the media in the past year. How much of this reflects the softening of powers of animal control agencies and officers who are restricted by “no kill” policies, and by the financial influence of major humane organizations which encourage owning/adopting a “misunderstood” Pit Bull (including those with a history of aggression)? 

SOME HEROES DON’T WEAR A BADGE 

LOS ANGELES HERO - Man saves woman from pit bull in Mid-Wilshire area 

On Jul 29, 2021, KTLA reported, “A man is being hailed as a hero for saving a woman from a pit bull attack in the Mid-Wilshire area last week.” 

Evan Townsley, 53, and the woman he saved from a vicious Pit Bull attack on July 23, were both hospitalized for the injuries they sustained in fighting for her life during an attack near Sixth Street and Cochran Avenue, the report states. 

Townsley told KTLA that “he heard Anna screaming for help and saw the dog attacking her.” He said he quickly decided to use a  knife and the martial arts skills he’s learned to try to stop the vicious attack, but soon found “that the nearly 100-pound dog might win the struggle.” 

As he also screamed for help, a person passing by bravely helped him “hold the dog down” until LAPD arrived to take over and control the animal. 

The hero also sustained a 30-hour hospital stay in which he describes he “underwent surgery on both of my forearms, have a broken wrist, major puncture wounds to the bone on my arms, can’t move my arms or fingers very well right now and have no use of either arm.” 

 Due to the costly hospital bills, he started a GoFundMe page, Townsley says on his page, “Never did I think I would start a Go Fund Me, nor did I ever think I would attack a dog but there was no way I could let that lady be ravaged by this dog like she was without helping.” 

KTLA reports that LAPD is conducting an investigation, “which could result in criminal charges for the owner of the dog, which was allegedly loose without a leash or supervision.” (There is no mention of any response or assistance by LA Animal Services.) 

The City thanks KTLA and reporter Carlos Saucedo, for sharing the story of this heroic act and exposing the dangers from sudden and unannounced Pit Bull (or other dog) attacks -- not only to police officers, but also to private citizens, any one of which can at any moment become a victim of a dog that maims or kills for no reason.  

Are dog attacks becoming an increasing nationwide epidemic -- or is the media just paying more attention? And who will be next?

 

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of LA employee and a contributor to CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.