A home on Pequot Avenue was the center of quite a scene early Saturday after police responded to a domestic call around 9:45 in the morning. Officer Dan O'Connell was interviewing a male identified as 19 year old Sean Sanita in the front yard, and as the interview turned to an arrest chaos broke out.
Lieutenant Brad Connor of the Warwick Police Department told NBC 10 "as the officer began to arrest the suspect, the dog actually charged out of the home and bit the officer in the leg twice. To protect himself the officer drew his firearm and fired upon the dog, striking the dog at least one time."
The dog, a black pitbull named Diesel, suffered non life-threatening injuries after he was hit in the shoulder.
NBC 10 spoke to Sean's girlfriend, who was at the home and saw the whole thing. She says that police were originally called to the house because a neighbor may have heard the couple arguing.
While police were questioning Sanita, his girlfriend says that Diesel, who was inside the house with her, began getting agitated realizing his owner may be in trouble. At one point, she opened the front door to go back outside to see what was going on, and the dog forced its way past her and attacked the officer.
She told NBC 10 that the dog has never before exhibited this type of violent behavior, but thinks he acted this way to protect his owner.
Lieutenant Connor said that the officer did what he was trained to do in this type of situation, "in this case, it was a large pitbull and the officer had been bitten at least once at that point and upon protecting himself he did what he needed to do."
Sanita will remain held until Monday, while the dog is being held at Warwick Animal Hospital pending a vicious dog hearing.
By NBC 10 News Saturday Aug. 24, 2013 7:05pm
A police officer in Warwick is in the hospital Saturday after he was attacked by a pitbull, that he was forced to shoot, while on duty Saturday morning.
According to Warwick Police Lieutenant Andrew Tainsh, Officer Daniel O'Connell was responding to a call for a domestic situation on 397 Pequot Ave just before 10 a.m. on Saturday morning when the attack took place.
The officer was speaking with Sean Sanita, 19, about the call outside of the home as the exchange began to escalate the dog, who was inside the home at the time became agitated. The dog managed to get loose and started attacking Officer O'Connell until he was left with no other option than to shoot the dog .
Police tell NBC 10 that multiple shots were fired and that the dog was hit by at least one bullet. The Warwick Animal Control Officer arrived at the scene and transported the dog to Warwick Animal Hospital for injuries that are non-life threatening. NBC 10 reached out to Warwick Animal Control regarding the dog but they declined to comment.
O'Connell is currently being treated for bite injuries sustained in the attack, but initial reports are that he should make a full recovery. The dog will be held by the city once it is released from the animal hospital until a hearing to determine whether it should be deemed vicious.
Following the incident Sanita was taken into custody for obstruction and disorderly conduct.
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