Dogs Cause Punctures to Officer’s Right Leg
A Riverside County animal control officer suffered punctures and lacerations to his right leg after responding to a call in Riverside at about 11:20 a.m.
Riverside County Animal Services Officer Michael Cox responded to a call in the 2500 block of Mount Vernon Avenue after a complaint from a property owner claiming four dogs were on his vacant, fenced property. The dogs appeared to be friendly at first, but then one of them bit his right leg – and a second dog joined in the attack. Both dogs involved in the attack were described as adult pit bulls.
Officer Cox retreated while using his retractable containment baton and pepper spray to protect himself. Once safe, he contacted dispatch for assistance and an Animal Services dispatcher contacted the Riverside Fire Department.
Firefighters provided medical aid and bandaged Officer Cox’s leg and Lt. James Huffman transported his colleague to an area hospital. Officer Cox remained in an emergency room late Monday afternoon, awaiting further treatment and sutures. It was likely he would be kept for overnight observation.
Three of the four dogs were impounded. The fourth – one of the two that had attacked the officer – managed to break through a gate at the rear of the property and escaped into the nearby hills.
“I spoke with Officer Cox and nothing appeared to indicate one of the dogs turning on him so quickly,” Lt. Huffman said. “Officer Cox has great dog-behavior instincts and knows when to proceed with caution.”
Commander Chris Mayer said it is rare for one of his officers to be attacked by a dog because his team is well skilled in knowing the warning signs. In fact, he said, Officer Cox is one of his colleagues that teaches canine safety courses to case workers with the county’s Department of Public Social Services. He and other officers provide valuable tips to employees with Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services and others.
“My heart goes out to Mike and we hope he recovers fast,” Commander Mayer said. “We go into dangerous situations all the time, but we’re trained to know the warning signs of aggressive dogs. In this incident, Mike didn’t have any time to react. We’re thankful the attacks weren’t worse.”
Upon impound, the three dogs were scanned for microchips and all three are owned by the same woman. She is believed to be someone experiencing homelessness and Animal Services assisted her with spay and neuter surgeries, sponsored by a nonprofit organization. She has since failed to license her dogs and is currently facing citations for failure to vaccinate and license her pets.