A pair of pit bulls attacked two East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies who had gone to a Highland Road apartment complex Tuesday to arrest someone for violating a protection order; the officers shot one dog dead, and one of the lawmen suffered a leg wound in the gunfire, an agency spokeswoman said.
It was the second serious dog attack in the parish in less than a week. A 7-year-old girl was killed Friday when a pit bull attacked her in a yard along Kendalwood Road.
In Tuesday's incident, sheriff's office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said, the deputies, along with a third officer, had gone to The Hub apartments on Highland Road near its intersection with Lee Drive. When they arrived, the man they were seeking opened a door and released two large pit bulls who "rushed" the deputies, Hicks said. One of the dogs tried to "latch onto one of the deputies with [its] teeth," she said.
Both officers fired their guns; one shot killed one of the dogs but another hit one of the deputies in the leg, Hicks said. The injured deputy was transported to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
A third dog was also at the home but did not attack the deputies, and none of the animals were restrained, Hicks said.
East Baton Rouge Animal Control director Daniel Piatkiewicz said that, per standard procedure, both surviving dogs were picked up by his department and will be kept for at least five days.
The owner of the pit bulls, identified later as Richmond McNeal, 48, was taken into custody on a protective order violation count. It wasn't clear later Tuesday if he would face counts related to the dogs' attack on the deputies.
The shooting comes days after Sadie Davila was killed by an unrestrained pit bull on Kendalwood Road in far southeastern East Baton Rouge Parish. That attack shocked the local neighborhood and resulted in a negligent homicide accusation against the dog's owner.
The girl, a first-grader at Woodlawn Elementary, was playing in a relative's yard Friday when she was attacked by a dog owned by neighbor Erick Lopez, the sheriff's office said. A judge who set bail for Lopez directed him to move away from the Kendalwood Road neighborhood.
According to an arrest affidavit for Lopez, the 20-year-old was not home when the attack took place and told investigators that he regularly let the dog roam the area unleashed.
Hicks said the two incidents, which happened just four days apart, have raised serious worries among law enforcement officers.
"In light of recent events, you can imagine that there was some concern obviously when those animals came out," Hicks said.