Don’t know why most of my memorable moments on this job have to do with dogs. I actually am a dog lover; to prove it I own a miniature schnauzer (who is so jumpy, I suspect he makes himself double shots of Starbucks on our Latte’ machine every day while I’m a work).
Anyway, one time I needed to speak with a 14 year-old kid who was a suspect in a robbery; he had allegedly punched another kid and took his BMX bike. I happened to be training a young officer at the time (Officer N), so we both went to the suspect’s grandmother’s home, where he was suppose to be hiding out. The house was in a poor neighborhood, and looked more like a farmyard with all the chickens running around inside the fence.
I started to unlatch the fence to walk to the front porch when Officer N. stopped me, “There’s a pitbull in there,” he whined. I saw the same pitbull, but also noticed that it had a length of chain attached to its collar. “It’s tied up,” I told Officer N, and whispered “Wimp” under my breath. I opened the gate and walked confidently into the yard, smiling at the pitbull, who now was snarling furiously at the end of the chain, looking like it wanted to chew on me like a Milk Bone. I did notice that Officer N elected to stay outside the yard, and closed the gate behind me. “What a coward,” I thought. In talking to Officer N afterwards, he was thinking, “What an idiot,” because he saw that the dog’s chain was not attached to anything, and assumed that I saw the same thing (I didn’t). The dog stopped barking and started running full steam at me, hindered only by a very short (unattached) chain. I grabbed my gun, and just as I was pulling the trigger, I yelled, “HOLD IT!” The dog evidently spoke English, because it stopped, turned around and trotted off to the other side of the yard.
I felt pretty confident to stay in the yard and try to interview the kid, so I knocked on the door. This ticked the dog off, because it started after me again. But all I had to do was say “NO” while staring at the dog, and it would slink back off. I did not get any response at the door after knocking several times, so I was just about ready to leave. The dog made one more attempt to come at me, but again I yelled and stared it down.
My authority was evidently having a negative influence on the dog’s psyche, because this time it turned aside and grabbed a chicken in its jaws. This was immediately followed by the front door swinging open and an old woman slapping a teenaged boy out of the house towards the dog, screaming something about “Perro” and “Pollo.” The kid got the dog to release the chicken (which was now dead but still looked as though you could save a couple drumsticks), then tied up the dog. He was so embarrassed by us having watched his grandma beat the crap out of him that he readily told us of stealing the bike.
We recovered the bike, and then decided to leave the kid there; grandma’s house looked to be much rougher than juvy anyway.