A dog was killed by police on Tuesday during an active attack on a Delaware animal-control officer.
The incident, which took place on June 6, around 3:53 p.m., at 32978 DuPont Boulevard, near Dagsboro, involved multiple police agencies, as well as emergency medical services.
“Delaware State Police, Dagsboro police, Selbyville police and Frankford police were dispatched to assist a Delaware animal-control officer who was being actively attacked by a white-and-brown pitbull terrier,” said Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey.
“Upon arrival, a Dagsboro police officer observed the attack in progress. After attempts to physically restrain the animal or dislodge it from the actual attack, the officer euthanized the dog.”
Toomey said the animal-control officer was treated at the scene, then transported to Beebe Healthcare for treatment and was later released.
The Dagsboro officer was first to arrive on the scene, having been dispatched from SusCom.
“It was an active attack. Upon arrival, the officer actually witnessed the dog continuing its attack… The victim officer was becoming weaker due to the stress and severity of the attack.
“The victim officer had multiple lacerations to her lower extremities — legs, groin area, buttocks, and I believe her hands and wrists also — they were defensive wounds.”
Toomey said his officers received a brief class on dealing with animals when they went through the Delaware State Police Academy. He said he did not know what kind of training the animal-control officers receive but assumed it was more intensive.
It is likely that a report of potential human exposure to rabies was or will be filed by the Delaware Division of Public Health, police said.
A representative for All Aboard Grooming & Kennels declined to comment about the incident.
"The Division of Public Health and Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) are grateful for the assistance of Dagsboro Police, Delaware State Police, and the Frankford and Selbyville Police Departments in an incident where one of our OAW Delaware Animal Services (DAS) officers was attacked by a dog on Monday afternoon in Sussex County," said Andrea Wojcik, chief of community relations/FOIA coordinator for the Division of Public Health. "As a result of an officer in distress, OAW followed standard emergency protocol in contacting 911 to seek assistance from the closest possible emergency responder to assist the officer. The officer is currently recovering from injuries sustained in the attack, and DPH will not be releasing additional details regarding the incident to protect the individual’s privacy.
"DAS officers are highly trained, and OAW is committed to officer safety. Working with animals can be unpredictable and while OAW trains its officers to be ready for any situation possible, there are times when circumstances out of officers’ control occurs, and part of our post incident protocols are to analyze what happened and determine, what if anything can be done to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future. Again, the OAW wishes to express its gratitude to the officers and EMS agencies that responded to assist our officer."
The incident took place in state police jurisdiction; however, Toomey said a use-of-force report was filed within his department.
He praised his officer, noting that his swift actions likely saved the victim from greater injury.
“From all reports, the officer responded, and his actions were quick, decisive and potentially life-saving.”