Police are commending the brave actions of a Waitemata officer who managed to stop a pitbull dog from mauling it’s 17 year-old owner, was then himself attacked by the dog, and then fought and pinned the dog to the ground to stop it from attacking anyone else.
At around 9.45am on Saturday morning, Constable Ben Klinkenberg (28 years old) was called to a park area on Sunhill Road in Sunnyvale.
A 17 year-old had been walking his father’s pitbull dog when it had turned on him and begun attacking him. Witnesses heard his screams and called Police. When Constable Klinkenberg arrived the teenager was on the ground on his back being savaged by the dog, which was biting him and dragging him around.
Constable Klinkenberg ran to his aid and sprayed the dog in the face with his O/C spray (pepper spray), which forced the dog to let go of the victim’s arm. The young man then managed to run to safety.
The dog then turned on Constable KIinkenberg and latched onto his chest, biting into and tearing his SRBA vest (pictured). Constable Klinkenberg managed to radio for help and for the next few minutes fought with the dog, which bit him several times on both forearms. The dog also bit into and punctured his can of O/C spray (pictured). He managed to pin the pitbull to the ground and hold it there. An ambulance arrived, but despite his injuries, Constable Klinkenberg did not let go of the dog because he feared it would attack others.
Additional Police officers arrived and helped to restrain the dog, and it was then seized by Animal Control.
Constable Klinkenberg and the young man were both taken to hospital. The 17 year-old has a number of dog bites that will require plastic surgery.
Constable Klinkenberg has bites and punctures to both forearms that required stitches. He has been released from hospital and is now recovering at home. He will return to work next week on light duties.
“There’s no doubt that Constable Klinkenberg’s actions stopped other people from being seriously injured. His bravery in managing to wrestle the dog to the ground and hold it there, even though he was injured, is highly commendable” says Superintendent Bill Searle, District Commander, Waitemata Police.
“I’ve spoken to him this morning and thanked him for a job very well done, and I’m sure the public will be thinking the same” says Superintendent Searle.