January 14, 2005
A police officer shot and killed a pair of pit bulls that chased two people and attacked another Thursday in a Scottsdale neighborhood.
Officer Carl Angelini fired 13 rounds to stop the dogs.
Deidre Almendarez watched him shoot one of the dogs in the front yard of her home near 82nd Street and Virginia Avenue as it rushed her door. It kept moving toward her despite taking several slugs.
"The dog was not going down," Almendarez said. "It finally went down. . . . The officer put one or two more in him just to make sure he was down."
Police weren’t able to find the 100-pound dogs’ owner, Sgt. Mark Clark said.
Pit bulls have a reputation as dangerous dogs. But the number of pit bull attacks in Maricopa County shows they’re less of a threat than other dogs. Labrador retrievers bite more humans than any other breed, said Julie Bank, spokeswoman for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. The county gets 5,000 animal bite reports a year.
The pit bulls that chased Almendarez were first spotted about 10 a.m. Thursday at 82nd and Virginia.
Almendarez was walking her bloodhound near that corner when a police officer asked if she had seen the dogs. She said she hadn’t and quickly turned around to go home, fearing she might encounter the pit bulls. But before she could return, the dogs emerged from an alley behind her house and went after her bloodhound.
Almendarez struggled to control her dog while rushing to her house and screaming, "Get away! Get away!" One of the pit bulls nearly got into the house, she said.
"All I could think was, ‘These three dogs are trying to kill each other,’ " Almendarez said.
The pit bulls darted across the street once Almendarez was inside and attacked a man walking an Airedale and started to attack that dog.
Frank Hill fell to the ground, Clark said. Almendarez considered grabbing one of the pit bulls by a collar it wore. But she saw its jaws were sinking into the Airedale and she feared the pit bull would turn on her.
Angelini came upon the scene and drew his gun. He pulled one of the pit bulls off the Airedale and told Hill to stand back, Clark said.
Angelini fired several times. The other pit bull made its way toward Almendarez’s house. The officer followed it there and fired several more rounds.
"If you’ve heard anything about pit bulls, they usually continue their aggression long after being shot," Clark said.
An investigation into the shooting will be conducted, Clark said, but Angelini was allowed to return to duty.
Angelini was not available for comment.
Hill had a minor hand injury, Clark said. His dog was taken to a veterinarian, Almendarez said.
Nobody in the neighborhood had seen the dogs before, Almendarez said.
The sight of a pit bull brings terror to many who come upon them — a reaction that could help trigger an attack, Bank said. A person who screams, runs or waves his hands could aggravate any type of dog, she said.
She advised people to stay calm and not get between two fighting dogs. That could make the attacking dog turn its aggression on the person.
"Stand still," Bank said. "In most cases what the dog will do is smell you and say you’re not fun anymore. They might bite but in most cases it won’t be a serious mauling."
Bank defended pit bulls as good pets when raised properly and said any breed of dog can turn violent.
"Any animal has the ability to be an aggressive or attacking animal," Bank said, "whether it’s a Chihuahua or a pit bull."