Attacks Prompt Roundup Of Roaming Dogs

Pit Bulls Attack Man, Officer In Separate Incidents

Two pit bull attacks in the same day, one on an Indianapolis police officer, have prompted the city to boost efforts to round up unattended dogs.

James Bates, 23, was attacked by two of his neighbor's pit bulls in the 5900 block of Grandview Drive before 8 a.m. Thursday, suffering puncture wounds and lacerations to his face, ears and feet.


About 12 hours later, Officer Jeffrey Viewegh, 40, was responding to a shots-fired call in the 800 block of South Sheffield Avenue when he was bitten by a pit bull, suffering a laceration, bruising and swelling of his right knee.

The attacks have sparked action by police and Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, 6News' Derrik Thomas reported.

"(We're going to be conducting) sweeps in neighborhoods where we see stray dogs, unattended dogs, things of that nature," said Sgt. Jeffrey Duhamell. "We are going to work with animal control to pick those dogs up."

From January 2007 to March 2009, Indianapolis police officers have killed 42 pit bulls, 86 percent of all dogs they had to shoot, Duhamell said.

City-County Councilor Mike Speedy authored a failed dangerous dog ordinance that was intended to hold owners more responsible for their pets, especially pit bulls.

"Once they start an attack, they don't relent," he said. "As a result of that bite style, they cause maximum deep-tissue damage. That loss of tissue often means loss of blood, infections and leads to fatalities."

Amy Lyons is a proud pit bull owner and said the breed is being unjustly vilified by such proposals.

"I don't believe they are more dangerous," she said. "If I thought they were more dangerous, I wouldn't have them with my family. There are just too many people who shouldn't own dogs."

In the attack on Bates, one of the dogs was killed by police and the other was injured. It was later euthanized by IACC.

The dogs' owner -- a Marion County sheriff's deputy -- was cited in the incident.