April 25, 2005
For two hours Sunday, a hiker, a fire crew and sheriff’s deputies were held at bay by a dog protecting its injured owner on a hiking trail at San Tan Mountain Regional Park near Queen Creek.
The dog’s owner suffered a broken ankle about 11:40 a.m. Sunday during a hike with the black Labrador-pit bull mix, said Alison Cooper, a Rural/ Metro Fire Department spokeswoman.
A 22-year-old woman also hiking the trail stopped to help the man, but the dog bit her when she got close, Cooper said.
The woman called 911, but Rural/Metro fire crews could get no closer.
The dog bit one firefighter on his left hand, Cooper said.
Firefighters backed off to wait for additional help from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s deputies held the dog in their gun sights until the animal control unit arrived and tranquilized it.
"They (would have) shot the dog if it (tried) to attack anybody else," Cooper said.
Three people — the dog’s owner, the hiker and the firefighter — were taken to Valley hospitals with minor injuries about 2 p.m., Cooper said.
The animal control unit was holding the dog Sunday.