Deputies were called at 10:08 p.m. Thursday to assist Riverside County Animal Control officers looking for two dogs in the 50000 block of Calle Mazatlan in Coachella, sheriff's spokesman Michael Vasquez said.
Residents of the area had reported that dogs which appeared to be PIT BULL MIXES, were behaving aggressively, confronting motorists and other citizens, he said.
According to Animal Control, the dogs had returned to their presumed owners' property. When the officer and deputy went up to the home, the dogs came out of the yard and charged at the men. While an animal control officer was trying to push one dog away with a control stick, the second canine bit the officer in the hand, Vasquez said. The dog refused to let go, prompting a deputy to shoot the animal, he said.
The animal control officer was treated at the scene. The dog which was killed was a male PIT BULL.
The owner of the dogs eventually surrendered the other dog over for humane euthanasia.
According to Animal Control spokesman John Welsh, "That dog, a female, had a prior dangerous dog restraining order on file, meaning the owner was mandated to make sure it was always restrained."
"The two dogs were highly aggressive immediately," said Lt. Luis Rosa of Riverside County Animal Services, who supervises the officers from the Coachella Valley Animal Campus. "The officer told me he had not seen dogs act in such an aggressive manner so fast."
Lt. Rosa said he appreciated the deputy's actions.
"We're trained to handle aggressive animals, and it is rare when one of our officers gets bitten," Rosa said. "However, we deal with so many amped-up dogs, it's just a matter of time that one of us will get hurt. We want to say thank you to the deputy for being there to back up our teammate."
Welsh said the officer responded to another aggressive dog call in Indio two hours later and impounded that dog without incident.
On Tuesday a 65-year old North Shore man was mauled to death by two pit bull mixes. Emilio Rios, Sr. was watering a neighbor's yard when he was attacked. Another neighbor was also seriously injured when she came outside to help comfort Rios' widow.