Dog Bite

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 19, 2009

Casey Lipe (left) and son Jesse haul away Gotti, a Pit Bull terrier, after the dog bit a meter reader, then a police officer, Monday afternoon at a home on Broadway. The dog was euthanized later that evening. The Panolian photo by Billy Davis

Police order dog euthanized after it bit city worker, officer

By Billy Davis

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A Pit Bull terrior was euthanized by a veterinarian Monday afternoon, not long after the dog bit a City of Batesville meter reader and later a police lieutenant.

Batesville police demanded, then got possession, of the five-year-old male dog from a home at 226 Broadway, where both attacks had occurred within an hour.

The home is located at the corner of Broadway and Park Street, next to American Legion Park.

The owner of the dog, Erika Lipe, was not home when the two men were bitten, police said. But her father, Casey Lipe, and her brother Jesse complied when officers ordered them to load the animal into a cage.

Police had responded to the home after the city employee’s supervisor called the police department.

At the home, a reporter watched as wary police officers formed a semi-circle around the Pit Bull as the canine zig-zagged across the front yard.

One officer brandished a black pump shotgun, and a police detective, Paul Shivers, had pulled his service pistol.

“It’s all right, guys, it’s all right,” Casey Lipe, standing on the home’s front porch, said reassuringly to a yard full of police. 

But police apparently disagreed. As the dog roamed, grown men retreated then charged, then retreated again like they were confronting an angry bull.

As Lipe spoke from the front porch, Lt. John Miller watched from just a few feet away. The officer’s right hand was bandaged from a puncture wound to his thumb, and the thick wrapping had turned bright red.

The father and son eventually retrieved the dog, but officers protested when they realized Casey Lipe and Jesse Lipe were hauling the Pit Bull through the front door of the home.

“No way. No way,” one officer yelled.

Reached after the attack, meter reader Terry Smith said he went to the home with orders to turn on the gas and water. He departed with three teeth marks on his right arm.

Smith, after knocking on the front door, said a male occupant came to the door with a white Labrador in tow.

“I handed him the paperwork to sign, and that’s when a second dog ran out the door,” Smith recalled.

The Pit Bull, once on the porch, spun and lunged at Smith’s right arm, nipping at him the first time. It found flesh on the second try.

“I kept hitting him to get him off,” Smith recalled. “I kept hitting him with my fist, but I had a wrench in my hand so I may have hit him with that, too.”

The city worker said he finished his work at the home, with his right arm sore and bleeding. He later told employees at city hall about the dog attack.

Miller, responding to a report of Smith’s encounter, was bitten at the front door as he talked to Jesse Lipe.

Police said the two dog attacks on Monday accounted for the second and third attacks in five days by the Pit Bull. BPD officer Greg Jones was bitten on the hand June 11 when he responded to a vicious dog complaint at the home.

After the attack on Jones, Erika Lipe had been warned that the Pit Bull would be euthanized if it attacked again, said Deputy Chief Don Province.

“We’ve had several complaints about the dog,” he said.

The dog’s owner had been ticketed for the dog being off leash, he said.

According to Casey Lipe, he had built a six-foot fence behind the home to contain the Pit Bull. Two more feet were added to the height after the dog managed to escape.

Lipe described the scene Monday as chaotic and said officers were “jacked up” by the excitement.

He also credited Province for calming the situation when the veteran officer arrived on the scene.

Asked if he believed officers intended to shoot the Pit Bull, Lipe said, “Yes, no doubt.”

Province, asked about Shivers’ drawn pistol, said the detective was prepared to shoot the dog.

“It was nothing to go crazy over. A dog got out,” Lipe said. “I’m sorry that he bit somebody.”

Casey Lipe described the dog as a “barker” but said it had never bitten anyone before it bit Jones.