Dog bites man is the natural order of things. But when you are a police dog, the natural order may not always apply. Please sit back and read with me the unnatural tale (and tail) of Onyx, brave police dog, and one unnaturally rough day. Our story begins on patrol in West Haven, Connecticut, in the early morning hours of October 7...
According to the report by the New Haven Register, Officer Scott Bloom was on patrol with fellow K-9 officer Onyx at about 2:30 a.m. when he spotted a man acting strangely, weaving off the sidewalk, with his pants falling to the ground. A bad omen: Bloom recognized the man from previous "contact" as Roderick Lewis. Lewis must not have recognized Bloom, because he allegedly yelled to him "I need a bag of dust." If Lewis had recognized the police officer, he would have surely been the last person to whom he would have yelled his request for a bag of "angel dust," also known as the hallucinogen PCP.
When Lewis reached into his waistband, Bloom grabbed him and ordered him to stop. Lewis hauled off and punched Bloom. It was at this point that police dog Onyx, seeing his partner in trouble, reportedly joined the fray. The Register reports the fight was now a three-way scuffle between Officer Bloom, Lewis and Onyx, who by now had Lewis's right leg firmly clamped between his jaws.
Lewis wasn't beaten yet. Bloom reported that during the fight he heard Onyx yelp and turned to see Lewis returning the favor and chomping into Onyx's side. Bloom again ordered Lewis to stop, but Lewis (non-verbally, one supposes) refused. He was finally convinced by Bloom's "defensive maneuvers" to take his mouth off the dog and was then led away in handcuffs by back-up officers belatedly arriving on the scene.
Lewis was taken to the hospital to treat his dog bite wounds and his "possible" (dare we say probable) drug use, reports the Register. Lewis is charged with assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and cruelty to animals. Police have an layer of immunity for bites caused by their dogs when subduing suspects. Unfortunately for Lewis, this is not a two-way street.
Onyx and Bloom were also treated for their injuries, and are doing well.
- Man bites dog, police say (MSNBC)
- Dog/Animal Bites - Overview (FindLaw)
- Animal Rights (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- That Bites: Dog Sentenced for Attacking Police Cars (FindLaw's Legally Weird)