Michael Bonito, an Indianapolis Animal Control officer, was severely injured in an attack by a white Pit Bull on Saturday, December 29, in the 2400 block of Asbury Street. The dog had earlier mauled a woman, who was hospitalized at Wishard Memorial Hospital. The officer was performing a follow-up investigation of that incident.
Two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers responded to a call that an officer needed help shortly after 5 p.m. on Saturday eveniing, according to the IndyStar.com.
“That dog was tearing him up,” said witness James Belle, Jr., who had quickly called 911. “He’s over there with the dog biting him, chewing him up.”
Before they were able to locate the injured animal control officer, the police officers encountered the Pit Bull, with blood on him, behind a house in the 2400 block of Asbury Street. There were still blood stains in the fresh white snow Monday, according to Fox 59 News.
The violent Pit Bull charged the two police officers, and Officer Nicholas Hubbs fired his handgun and struck the dog in the neck. The dog retreated behind the house, the report states.
After Officers Hubbs and Jose Navarro helped injured Animal Control Officer Bonito limp to safety, Officer Hubbs headed back toward the house, carrying his IMPD-issued 12-gauge shotgun.
He again located the Pit Bull, who was still behind the house and on the other side of a chain-link fence. The dog growled and bared his teeth and then attempted to jump the fence. Officer Hubbs fired two shots, striking him in the neck and chest. Those shots “ultimately destroyed the dog,” the police report states.
Officer Bonito was transported to Wishard Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and later released. “I have tear wounds on this arm,” Bonito said in a Fox59 interview, “Some leg bites as well.
Officer Bonito had gone to the same hospital earlier in the day to interview the woman who was attacked by the white Pit Bull that morning. From there, he went to the Asbury Street address to try to locate the dog.
“He’d gone out to get photos…and somebody had the animal in question contained in their car,” Anima Control spokesman Adam Garrett said. When the dog was let out of the car, he attacked Officer Bonito.
Spokesman Garrett did not have further information about the earlier attack on the woman except to say that it was serious.
The woman believed to be the dog’s owner, Michelle Gonzalez, who lives at the location where the dog was found, was issued citations as a result, Garrett told the IndyStar.com.
Jerry Nutter, a neighbor, said he is “fed up” and that he had warned the dog’s owner, “I done told her about them dogs. Them dogs keep getting out.”
But Gonzalez told Fox59 the animal did not belong to her. “It is a stray,” she said. “I never fed this dog. It’s never been, you know, in my house or anything.”
She told Fox 59 that she had posted on Craigslist to try to find the dog’s owner but did not call animal control, “…if it was somebody’s dog I just assumed they would call,” she explained. She said she wound up with fines, which she will fight in court.
Officer Bonito, urged residents to call authorities immediately when they notice a stray in their neighborhood, especially if the animal is aggressive. He told Fox 59 that people need to be aware of strays in their area and to “call animal control…so that they can come out and deal with the issue.”
“Officer Bonito is still recovering from the severe bite wounds,” Spokesman Garrett told OpposingViews.com in an interview on Thursday, January 3, 3013.
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