After being painfully bitten by two attacking dogs, 11-year-old Caleb Davis escaped to the top of some monkey bars in Central Topeka’s Chesney Park Thursday afternoon, said his aunt, Rochelle Davis.
The dogs also bit two men ages 21 and 33 before one dog was shot and both were captured by Topeka police, Deputy Police Chief Brian Desch said.
The capture ended a chaotic situation in which police and firefighters sought to subdue the dogs using an animal control pole, a nightstick and water from firehouses, witnesses said.
Caleb was taken by private vehicle to a Topeka hospital while the men were taken by American Medical Response ambulances to Topeka hospitals. Their injuries didn’t appear to be life-threatening, Desch said.
He said police were checking into an unconfirmed report that another victim may have been bitten but left the area.
Both dogs remained alive and in custody, and one was being treated at a veterinarian’s office, Desch said.
He said police had located a person thought to own the dogs, were continuing to investigate and hadn’t issued any citations.
Initial reports had indicated the dogs were PIT BULLS. Desch said police were also looking into that.
He said police patrol officers and animal control officers were dispatched at 2:09 p.m. after receiving multiple calls to the scene on the southern edge of Chesney Park. The attack scene was in the 1800 block between Clay and Buchanan streets.
Desch described Central Park as a “popular place for children to come and play.”
Initial reports from callers indicated one person who was bitten had injuries on the arm, foot, leg and hand.
Rochelle Davis said she called police after the dogs went after children in the park’s playground, where they took cover atop taller pieces of playground equipment.
“All the kids were screaming and panicking,” Davis said. “And they were all getting up high and telling me to get up high.”
One of those — Caleb — was taken to a Topeka hospital by his mother, Sarah Davis, Rochelle Davis said. Names of the other victims hadn’t been released.
Topeka Fire Department officials were the first on scene, and Davis said they used hoses to spray water to try to keep the dogs at bay.
Topeka police, animal control, and American Medical Response officials arrived shortly after, and Davis said one dog was hit with a police nightstick.
Desch said that while police didn’t yet have all the details, an animal control officer had sought to use an animal control pole, but the dogs continued to be aggressive. He indicated a police patrol officer — whose name wasn’t released — tried to keep the dogs at bay using either a nightstick or a hand, “and at one point he couldn’t do it any more and fired.”
The officer shot one of the dogs at 2:15 p.m., striking his leg, Desch said. He indicated the dogs were taken into custody soon afterward.
Other adults who responded to the scene included a man who carried a butcher knife, witnesses said.
Rochelle Davis said she thought the same dogs last week escaped their home and bit her sister, Sarah Davis, Caleb’s mother, who didn’t feel compelled to report it.
Two investigations are underway, Desch said.
One is to review the defensive action taken by the officer who shot the dog.
The other is to look into potential criminal charges related to the vicious dogs.
Police late Thursday afternoon were using a metal detector just south of the tennis courts near Chesney Park’s southwest corner. Desch said they were trying to locate a shell casing from the shooting of the dog.
While police hadn’t revealed the name of the officer who shot the dog or reached a conclusion as to whether he or she acted appropriately, Desch said initial indications suggested he was protecting an animal control officer — as well as many others in the park — from great bodily harm.
Anyone with knowledge of these incidents is asked to call the Topeka Police Department at (785) 368-9200, or Crime Stoppers at 234-0007, or one can report online athttp://www.topekacrimestoppers.org/.