Editor's Note: Follow-up information from the Corvallis Police Department found that the dog in this story described as a 'pit bull mix' in reports was actually a Neapolitan mastiff.
The complaint of a vicious dog at large Monday ended with a pit bull biting one police officer, that officer Tasing the pit bull, and with the dog dying somewhere between its owner’s backyard and the animal shelter.
A police report filed by Corvallis Police Officer Michael Withington gave this account: He and Officer Steve Teeter responded to Northwest 13th Street and Cleveland Avenue on a complaint that two dogs were trying to bite people. The two brown dogs were described as a full-grown adult pit bull mix weighing about 150 to 180 pounds and a puppy that looked the same and weighed about 40 to 50 pounds.
As the officers discussed the situation, the adult dog “jumped up and put his mouth around Officer Teeter’s left forearm. It appeared to me as if the pit bull had bitten Officer Teeter, so I drew my sidearm to shoot it if necessary. I had the pit bull’s head in my pistol sight as it unclamped from Officer Teeter’s arm.Officer Teeter Tased the dog, which ran toward the school once the cycle was complete. I ran after it, on foot, to protect the children present if necessary,” Withington wrote.
The dog went to its home at 1630 N.W. Highland Drive, where owner Mable Akina was cited for an unprovoked dog attack. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office animal control took the dog to Heartland Humane Society. Withington later learned the dog died en route to the shelter.
The series of events left dog owner Akina, 30, shaken. She said Thursday that she and her husband, Keith Akina, 29, never before had any problems with their two dogs being aggressive or escaping from their property.
“It was a big shock to us,” Mable Akina said. “All too much in one day.”
The older dog, Deuce, was about 2. The puppy, Cali, is four months old, she said. The dogs are not related.
Her husband, Keith Akina, a defensive coach for the Western Oregon University, had owned Deuce since he was a puppy.
Mable Akina said she arrived home Monday to find officers at her door. They told her the dogs were out loose and that they had been alarmed about the aggressive behavior of the big one (Deuce). It was after Akina went to the backyard to check on the dogs that the officers told her that they’d used a Taser (a device that shoots out a temporarily disabling electric shock) — on Deuce. The device is meant to be an alternative to lethal force.
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Mable Akina said that both Deuce and the puppy looked fine, however, and she agreed to bring Deuce to the front and put a muzzle on him so that the officers could take him to Heartland Humane Society. That is the normal procedure after an owner is cited in connection with a dog attack.
“When he went into the truck he was fine,” she said. “Just scared.”
An officer later returned to the Akina house to tell them that when the doors to the animal control transport were opened at Heartland’s shelter in south Corvallis, Deuce was dead.
Mable Akina said that the officer suspected that the Tasing might be to blame, but Deuce’s body was transported to Oregon State University for testing to determine a cause of death.
As of Thursday, the pit bull’s body remained at OSU.
“We’re still waiting” to learn the official cause of death, she said. “We’ve wanted to go and see him.”
The Akinas were still trying Thursday to understand what happened.
“They said that he was acting aggressive. All this is new to us. Nothing ever happened before.”
Mable Akina said that her 6-year-old son, who is autistic, played with Deuce all the time without incident.
Calls from reporters to Lt. Cord Wood, the public information officer for the Corvallis Police Department, were not returned Thursday.