The man was armed with a gun, but he did not shoot the dogs.
The incident occurred at about 11:15 a.m. May 16 in the 3800 block of 20th Street.
One dog is described as a German shepherd / Boxer mix breed, and the other is a Pit Bull / Boxer mix.
“(The victim) had gone across to his neighbor’s house to inform them the dogs were loose,” said Inspector Brian Zalewski. “That’s when the dogs grabbed a hold of him and knocked him to the ground. He received injuries to his arms, legs, back and the back of his head, as he was trying to shield his face.”
Police, who were the first to arrive, found the dogs sitting in the driveway, close to where the victim was.
Zalewski said the responding officer used his “good judgement” not to shoot the dogs, in large part because of their proximity to the victim, and the fact the location was a residential neighborhood.
However, witnesses reported hearing a gunshot. Police confirm that a gun was fired, but not by a police officer.
“The victim is a licensed gun owner who had his gun with him,” Zalewski said. “He fired his gun into the ground to scare them off.”
Zalewski said shooting the gun did succeed in getting the dogs to stop attacking.
When the reporting officer arrived he said a detective and a command officer were already at the scene, trying to get the dogs away from the victim. They were circling the injured man and made several charges at officers, displaying their teeth and growling.
One of the canines, described as a large brown dog, charged the command officer so the reporting officer used his Taser on the dog, which immediately took effect.
As officers tried to grab the brown dog, the white dog came to his defense, growling at officers. The dog that was tased broke one of the copper wires and ran into a yard. Both dogs were captured by animal control officers a short time later.
Police spoke with the 68-year-old victim as paramedics were working on him in the back of an ambulance.
He said he was on the neighbor’s porch, knocking on the door in an attempt to inform them their dogs were out, when the brown dog grabbed his leg and the white one grabbed his arm.
The dogs dragged him off the porch and onto the ground, where they proceeded to maul him. He told police he fired a “warning shot” to scare off the dogs. Police said the victim has a valid concealed pistol license.
Even with his injuries, the victim said he didn’t want to hurt the dogs, but used his gun so they would stop attacking him.
The victim was taken to Beaumont Hospital —Trenton for treatment to his injuries. An officer described his injuries as severe.
He didn't want to hurt the dogs? Seriously? He thinks it's better to lose his hand or his arm or his eye from the attack. I don't believe this at all.
I think what really happened is that he went to shoot them, the dogs jumped on him, knocking the gun out of his hand and then proceeded to maul him. He either fired the shot at them and missed or he fired off a round when the dogs knocked the gun out of his hand. He just doesn't want to admit that this happened. No one is going to willingly endure a "severe" mauling by two large dogs because they didn't want to hurt the dogs.
Police said it took several minutes for the dogs’ owner to open the door. When told her dogs mauled her neighbor in the driveway, and she saw the blood, she asked police if he had died.
Police asked her why it took her so long to answer the door. She said she was sleeping and had a fan next to her, so did not hear knocking at her door.
The dogs’ other owner arrived and turned over paperwork for the dogs. He said the German Shepherd-Boxer mix had attacked a mail carrier about four weeks ago.
The man said both dogs were in the house when he left for work. The front screen window was damaged, leading police to believe the dogs jumped out through that window.
Investigators also found a large hole through the back cyclone fence. Someone had attempted to close the hole, but police said the dogs appear to be able to access the opening.
A detective spoke with the victim in the hospital on Wednesday, saying he appeared to be in good spirits and was recovering.
Both dogs remain in the city’s animal shelter. Zalewski said they most likely will be held until police hear back from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for review of charges.
Zalewski said having a dangerous dog can, in some instances, be considered a felony. He said the city also has ordinances in the book pertaining to possession of dangerous dogs.
The victim has been released from the hospital.
(The News Herald - May 19, 2017)