A large dog that police say would go from being calm to “incredibly violent and vicious” without warning remained quarantined Wednesday after biting two animal control officers.
The injuries suffered by the animal control officers were so severe that neither has been able to return to work, West Jordan Police Sgt. Dan Roberts said Wednesday.
On July 2, animal control was called to an apartment complex near 2800 West and 8600 South on a report of a stray dog. A tenant had approached the dog to read its tag, and it growled and barked at him, Roberts said.
When the animal control officer arrived, he likewise tried to get close to the dog — an Akita between 100 to 150 pounds — to put a leash on it.
Normally (the officers’) lacerations were severe enough that they would require stitches. But because of the concern about bacteria and infection, they haven’t been sutured yet, and the animal control officers have yet to return to work.
–Sgt. Dan Roberts, WJPD
“The dog seemed nice. It was wagging its tail. The officer put his hand down (to) let him sniff the back of his hand, was going to put a leash on him. And the dog, without provocation, viciously attacked the animal control officer, latched onto his arm and shook him around like a rag doll,” Roberts said. “Most dogs bite and release. This wasn’t like that.”
The officer had to use his baton to get the dog to let go of his arm. But as soon as he did, the dog latched on to the officer’s other arm.
“He was bit on both arms, serious lacerations on both arms. Later on that night, he discovered he had also been bitten on both his back and on his legs,” Roberts said.
Backup officers were called and finally gained control of the dog and get it in one of the cages of the officer’s truck. The eyewitness who originally called police tried to help by using his own shirt to wrap around the officer’s hand as a bandage.
When it was decided that the injured officer couldn’t delay going to the hospital, another animal control officer tried to transfer the dog from one animal control truck to the other.
“The dog wasn’t cooperating. It was just laying there,” Roberts said. “Again, without provocation, without warning, it just lunged at him.”
Both officers ended up going to the hospital to be treated for their injuries.
“Normally their lacerations were severe enough that they would require stitches. But because of the concern about bacteria and infection, they haven’t been sutured yet, and the animal control officers have yet to return to work,” Roberts said.
Other animal control officers were able to track down the owner, a man who was staying with friends at the apartment complex, Roberts said. The owner claimed his dog was somehow able to escape from a third floor apartment, possibly by jumping off the balcony. He also told investigators that earlier this year his dog bit a veterinarian while being vaccinated.
“We’re just grateful this didn’t turn out worse. I mean, you have three professionals who deal with animals every day that were attacked by this dog without provocation. It’s a dangerous animal,” Roberts said.
The sergeant said considering there was also a playground in the apartment complex, police are thankful no one else was hurt.
The dog is currently in quarantine. Animal control officers will ask the owner to relinquish custody to them. If not, they will seek a court order to have the dog euthanized, he said.