Sunday, 16 December 2018
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Animal control officer recovering after Chandler dog attack – AZCentral

A dog with a history of attacks was shot by Chandler police after it attacked Rick Alva, a Maricopa County Animal Care and Control officer, last month.

Alva, 50, talked about the experience and his recovery during a press conference Tuesday morning at a Phoenix animal shelter.

On the day of the attack, Nov. 7, Alva and the Chandler Police Department were responding to a court order to impound a dog on a petition alleging it was vicious. The dog, an adult male Rottweiler named Rocky, weighed more than 100 pounds, Alva said at the conference.

Rocky has a history of violence. There have been three incidents involving the dog biting someone, according to animal care and control officials. In the last incident, the victim reported the dog to the court.

“Basically, somebody, not sure who, but they went to the courts and stated that this is a vicious dog, and I want it declared vicious by the courts,” said Alva. “Well they have to set a hearing for that, and therefore the courts asked us to impound the dog, hold it here in our facility until the court date.”

When officers went to the Chandler home in the 500 block of West Greentree Drive, Rocky locked his jaws around Alva’s right forearm. A Chandler police officer fatally shot the dog, according to animal care and control officials.

“It was actually our third time coming to this address and trying to get a hold of the dog owner,” Alva said.

Alva was taken to Chandler Regional Hospital.

“It is really important that everyone understands as an organization we never want to see any animal harmed or hurt in any way shape or form, but at the time, the size of this dog, the aggression that he was biting, these officers really had no choice,” said Jose Miguel Santiago, public information officer for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

“This animal was almost acting as a deadly weapon,” Santiago said.

When the attack occurred, Alva said things happened so fast that his only thought was to protect himself.

Officials: Dog’s owner charged

Larry Jerdee, Rocky’s owner, was home, opened the door to officers, didn’t try to restrain the dog and is being charged with multiple misdemeanors, according to a statement from animal care and control. Jerdee declined to comment.

Animal Care and Control recommended misdemeanor charges of an aggressive dog and a dog at large be filed against Jerdee.

An investigation is underway to determine whether a felony assault charge is warranted, as previously reported by The Arizona Republic. Chandler police could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

Dog owners in Maricopa County can be charged with misdemeanors for various offenses.

According to Lt. Chris Kunszt, of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, owners can be charged for not licensing their dog, which is required in Maricopa County, not having a leash for your dog or having a leash longer than six feet in length, and not having the proper tags on your dog.

Officer’s recovery

“It has been a difficult month since this happened,” said Alva.

Alva has had two surgeries and will undergo a third Wednesday. No bones were broken, but he did suffer a pressure-related injury.

“At that point, surgeons decided they would do a fasciotomy — to relieve the pressure and swelling in my arm so it would receive circulation again,” said Alva, “That is what they were able to do, and they were able to get circulation back in my arm.”

Alva said doctors had to open up his arm, and he has an open wound on the top of it. His surgery Wednesday requires him to get a skin graft so they can replace the skin.

Alva said that he loves his career and can not wait to get back to doing what he does. Alva has more than 20 years of experience and is also a trainer.

“The way I feel is because I feel I have a very positive outlook on a bad situation that’s due to friends, family and co-workers,” said Alva.

He said he hoped pet owners would learn from this.

“My message to pet owners is to always be aware of their pet’s action and control,” Alva stated, “You never know what your dog might do.”

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Source: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/chandler/2018/12/04/maricopa-county-animal-control-officer-rick-alva-talks-chandler-rottweiler-attack/2204954002/

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