An animal control officer was bitten by a pit bull when he responded to a call of a dog running loose Friday morning at a Martinez residence.
Officer Joseph Guerin, 33, of Hephzibah, arrived at the home of Linda Steed, 46, of the 4500 block of Jessie Road, Martinez. Steed had already captured the loose rottweiler and Officer Guerin loaded it into the truck, said Capt. Steve Morris, Columbia County Sheriff's Office spokesman.
Steed asked Officer Guerin to examine the dog's chain the backyard, where she had three pit bulls. On entering the backyard, one lunged at the officer and another bit him on the right leg and left arm. The leg bite was minor with some bruising, but the arm bite was more serious with a few open gashes.
Columbia County Animal Care and Control Manager Linda Fulmer went to the scene, as with any officer injury, and decided to take all four dogs into custody.
"The dog had current rabies shot and all of our animal control employees, we also get them vaccinated too for rabies, so that was not an issue in this case, which that is one of the first concerns," said Pam Tucker county emergency services director.
An ambulance was called, but Officer Guerin returned his county vehicle and drove his personal car to the University Hospital emergency room, where he was treated and released mid-afternoon.
"He went back at work and wanted to answer phones and things," Tucker said. "You would have to know Joe. He is one-of-a-kind. He is a longtime employee of animal control. A lot of people do not realize what they go through sometimes. But he is an excellent employee."
Steed was charged with public nuisance animal and has a court date set for today at 2:30 p.m. The fate of all four dogs lies in the judge's decision.
Friday's visit wasn't the first to the Steed home. In the last few weeks, officers have been there several times, including one day when a pit bull chased another officer.
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