A Martin County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed an AMERICAN BULLDOG early Monday after it viciously attacked a woman who was taking him for a walk, Sheriff William Snyder said.
The dog — a 4-year-old named Otto — attempted to attack a rabbit and pulled the woman walking him to the ground. After she fell, the dog began mauling her, according to a sheriff’s report.
Emergency dispatchers received multiple calls about the attack on Matousek Street, north of Cove Road and west of Horseshoe Point, just before 6 a.m. and could hear the victim screaming and the dog barking in the background. When deputies arrived, she had crawled to a screened-in area, keeping the dog outside.
The dog was aggressive toward deputies and wouldn’t allow them to get close to the victim, the sheriff’s report said. That’s when one deputy fired his shotgun, Snyder said.
“No question that he did the right thing,” Snyder said, adding that deputies don’t use tranquilizers for situations like that.
The victim, who is about 50 years old, was covered in blood, and had a compound break to her left arm and multiple puncture wounds on her head and body. She was taken to Martin Hospital South in Stuart and was listed in serious condition, though her injuries aren’t life threatening, the sheriff said.
Police had once before responded to a nonviolent call about the dog, which weighed more than 100 pounds. Though the breed isn’t known for its aggression, misdirected attacks like this are common, Snyder said.
“We domesticate our dogs, but at the end of the day, it’s a dog and it has certain instincts,” Snyder said. “Clearly he got into an aggressive, prey-driven mode.”
Snyder urged anyone who is unsure about their dog or neighbor’s dog should have a frank conversation about if the pet could become dangerous. He also said to remember nothing is ever certain.
“It’s amazing to me … how often people will say ‘I don’t know what happened he’s never been like that,” Snyder said.
Snyder didn’t expect any arrests to be made regarding the incident.