By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – Graham County Sheriff’s deputies pepper sprayed a pit bull dog Friday after the animal bit a person and then displayed aggressive behavior toward the deputies.
Authorities were dispatched to the 2500 block of E. Nelson Place at about 5:41 p.m. regarding a medical call. Upon arrival, the man who called the police advised he was bitten on his hand, arm, chest and leg by a male pit bull. The dog was soon located near the intersection of Nelson Drive and Nelson Place, and the man was transported to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC).
As deputies attempted to corral the dog away from other bystanders until an Animal Control officer arrived, the dog became aggressive to the deputies, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.
As a deputy attempted to put a rope loop around the dog’s head, it charged the deputy and attempted to bite a second deputy in the area. The dog got a hold of the deputy’s pants and then both deputies dispersed pepper spray (oleoresin capsicum) in the dog’s face, which fended off the attack. The dog had torn the deputy’s pants but did not strike flesh.
The deputies then continued to spray the dog to keep it from attacking until an Animal Control officer arrived. The three men then managed to capture the dog and take him to the Graham County Animal Shelter. Later, a woman who resides on Nelson Place informed deputies that she is the owner of the dog. The Animal Control officer was given her information to follow up with a citation and what was next for her dog. When captured, the dog did not have a collar.
The victim was interviewed at the hospital and said he had seen the pit bull and another apparent stray dog fighting in the same area the previous week. At that time, the grabbed both dogs by the scruff of their necks and separated them, according to his statement to police. He then saw the same pit bull that day and it suddenly attacked him, he said.
The victim was treated at MGRMC for bites to the back of his right upper leg, left forearm, left thumb and chest and was released.