Friday, October 22, 2010

Tasered dog died of suffocation

By Nancy Raskauskas, Gazette-Times

According to police, necropsy results showed that it wasn’t the effects of an officer’s Taser that killed a dog in a northwest Corvallis neighborhood on Monday. Rather, the animal suffocated after it was muzzled for transport to the Heartland Humane Society.
A police spokesman said Friday the dog had a previous injury that caused swelling in its throat, and the jolt from an officer’s stun gun played no role in the dog’s death.
The incident happened when two Corvallis police officers responded to a report of two dogs at large near Linus Pauling Middle School that were attempting to bite people. After the larger dog bit one of the officers, he discharged his Taser into the animal. The owners were located and cited, and the dog was taken to the shelter in the back of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office animal control truck.
“When the muzzle was put on the dog, it closed the airway. The dog suffocated,” said Capt. John Sassman, a spokesman for the Corvallis Police Department.
“When animals have an illness or injury they can be aggressive, even if they are a great dog otherwise,” he added. “I would categorize this under one of those really unfortunate situations.”
The dog, named Deuce, was initially identified as a pit bull mix in police reports. According to Lt. Cord Wood, public information officer for the Corvallis Police Department, owners Mable and Keith Akina say Deuce was actually a Neapolitan mastiff.
Wood said Corvallis officers have used Tasers to subdue other aggressive dogs in the past.
“It usually has the desired effect,” he said.
Wood said the officer who used the Taser after being bitten in the arm is doing fine. The dog’s teeth did not actually break the skin.
Wood called the dog’s sudden death during transport “very unfortunate.”
“We were all very surprised,” he said.

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