Any stray dog found in a small community is going to lead to some nervous residents. The fear is even worse when it’s a large breed with a bad reputation, whether or not that reputation is founded, like in this case.
Sergeant Gary Carter was in Arlington on an unrelated call, when residents of the area flagged him down and told him about a vicious pit bull that had been following people around. After calling for back-up, the Sergeant searched the scene until he found the pit bull in question.
Recently, the Arlington Police Department offered training to their officers, teaching them how to recognize the mood and personality of dogs. It was an attempt to minimize incidents involving dogs of all breeds being dealt with aggressively when they really just need help.
Whether it’s because of the recent training, or because Sgt. Carter is an animal lover, he knew what he was up against when he found the ‘vicious’ pit bull.
The pit bull was wagging its tail and panting, leading Sgt. Carter to conclude that the dog wasn’t aggressive; he was simply thirsty and lost.
With the fear of being attacked behind him, Sgt. Carter attempted to approach the pit bull. It immediately ran away, seeking sanctuary in the backyard of a house. The Sergeant didn’t have to wait long for the pit bull to come back, though, as it was immediately chased out… by a tiny Chihuahua.
“He ran right to me, like ‘Help me, help me! This monster is going to eat me!'” Sgt. Carter said.
Once the pit bull was free of the territorial Chihuahua, Sgt. Carter and his back-up, Patrol Officer Heather Gibson, were able to lure him into the back of a patrol car with some affection and a protein bar.
“This is exactly the type of compassion we love to see our employees exhibit and credit their good judgment and our significant investment that our organization has made in providing training to officers on how to deal with dogs,” said Arlington Police Chief Will D. Johnson.
“People, unfortunately, when they see a pit bull, they don’t see a lost dog,” said Sgt. Carter. “They see something that in their mind is extremely dangerous.”
Regardless of the reputation of a breed, any stray animal can wind up being aggressive. The residents of the area might have been wrong about this pit bull, but they did the right thing in notifying an officer. It was lucky that the APD gave their officers enough training that the pit bull wasn’t immediately seen as a threat based on breed stigma.
“It makes me feel good that I’ve had that kind of a positive response,” said Carter. “Maybe people can realize that first of all, not all big dogs are dangerous and second of all, not all police officers are out to shoot big dogs.”
The pit bull that was rescued is named Jeffrey and had a microchip. Officials were able to reunite the newly adopted pit bull with his owner, who said the dog had escaped through his fence.
According to WFAA News 8, they asked the owner if he’d gotten the pit bull as a guard dog. He replied that he’d rather get a Chihuahua for that.
[ Image courtesy of NBC ]