Unsteady dog walker causes problems for police

By Chris Jackett
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A resident’s simple walk down the street with her dog ended recently with two people in the hospital.

An officer was sent to Fourth and Poplar streets about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 4 in response to two residents who called regarding a 56-year-old Wyandotte woman in need of medical assistance.

Upon arrival, the officer saw a vehicle stopped in the road with its hazard lights on and driver’s door open. The callers, two men, were assisting the woman, who appeared to be unsteady on her feet and was being pulled to the ground by her dog on a leash.

The officer said the woman, who lived nearby, appeared to be under the influence of something and she told one of the men she occasionally has seizures. She also smelled of intoxicants, which is when the man decided to call for help.

The woman appeared very lethargic and frail; she could stand only with assistance, but was unable to walk. She told police she takes medication and did not just have a seizure, but was unsure. Because the weather was very windy, the officer immediately smelled alcohol on the woman’s breath.

She denied drinking alcohol when originally asked, but then told the officer she had stayed up all night drinking.

Perceiving the woman as an obvious harm to herself if left unattended, the officer called firefighters to come and evaluate her condition. Upon arrival, they agreed with the officer’s assessment.

The officer asked the woman go to the hospital to be evaluated by a medical doctor and cleared of any serious medical condition. She refused and became belligerent. The officer said if it was not a medical issue, the matter would be a criminal issue. The woman refused to seek medical assistance and denied being disorderly.

Rather than arresting her, the officer said he would petition her for physical evaluation for her well-being. While being helped to an ambulance, the woman began to struggle with emergency personnel and refused to give up the leash and dog waste receptacle she was carrying.

Two officers had to pry her fingers from the leash. She refused to get into the ambulance, at which point the responding officer had to pick her up and hand her to emergency personnel. She continued to struggle after being placed on the gurney, and had to be strapped down.

After transporting the woman to the hospital and submitting a petition for hospitalization, the officer cited her for disorderly conduct.

The second officer responding to the scene took the dog to the woman’s house in the 300 block of Poplar about 10 a.m. for safekeeping. The residence was about three houses away from the arrest location.

The officer approached the lower flat with the woman’s dog, knocking on the front door to get the attention of anyone inside. Receiving no response, the officer checked the front door and found it unlocked. He pushed it open to allow the dog to enter while also announcing police presence.

When stepping into the house to remove the dog’s leash, a second, larger dog came from behind the door and attacked the officer, biting him on the lower left leg and breaking through the pants, sock and skin in the shin area.

The officer attempted to shove the second dog away, but it became more aggressive and continued to bite, forcing the officer to kick the dog in self-defense. The kick caused the dog to let go and back up into the entranceway. The officer quickly released the first dog into the house and backed out the front door, closing it behind him.

Shortly afterward, the city’s animal control officer arrived and took the dog into custody, to be placed on hold for the next 10 days as a standard rabies precaution.

While seeking treatment at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, 2333 Biddle Ave., the officer spoke with the dog’s owner, who had been admitted to the emergency room for treatment. He was told the woman does not have licenses for either dog, and that their vaccinations are not up to date.

(Contact Chris Jackett at cjackett@bewickpublications.com)