Better than a week after the attack, Kevin Scott still gets a little rattled when he talks about it.

And he's not even the one who was attacked.

Scott called the Davenport Police Department on the night of Oct. 7, because two pit bulls were "camped out" on his neighbor's porch. As he waited for police, he tried to befriend the dogs with biscuits.

"I managed to get the one pit that had a collar onto my outdoor chain," he said. "It's a good thing I did that."

One female police officer arrived about 9 p.m., he said, but could plainly see she wasn't going to be able to handle the dogs. So she called animal control, which is under contract with all of Scott County through the Scott County Humane Society.

"They only sent one female animal control officer to collect the two pits," Scott said. "As soon as she came, the dogs went insane, and both went after her. Luckily, I had one tied up and only one was able to get a hold of her. But she was hurt pretty bad."

Scott rushed into his house on Thornwood Avenue and grabbed his shotgun. He ran back outside and tried to get the unleashed pit away from the animal control officer where he could shoot it. But he didn't have a safe shot.

He fired into the ground, hoping to startle the dog, but it didn't work. As the animal control officer tried to beat the dog away with her catch pole, police began showing up.

"She was panicking," Scott said of the officer. "She needed help. Police fired two shots at the dog, but it didn't go anywhere until they hit it with a Taser. It was vicious. It looked like a couple of wolves going at her."

But one of the worst things, he said, was that the attack was preventable. It never would have happened, he said, if one woman had not been sent alone to try to capture two pit bulls.

"My point is when people call this sort of thing in, police and animal control need to take a better look at their practices," he said. "They knew there were two pits. One officer was not in a position to handle them. She could have been very badly injured if I hadn't thought to tie the one up. Also, I had to intervene and put myself at risk.

"I am a dog lover, pit bulls included, but I realize they possess a lot more power than an average dog. That officer was doing what she was supposed to do, but she was overpowered."

Pam Arndt, executive director of the Humane Society, said the injured officer had an option.

"She could have at any time extracted herself from the situation and called for backup," she said. "She could've stepped back."

But Scott was there, and he said the officer didn't have the chance. And he also wondered why the first police officer to respond didn't stick around to see if animal control needed a hand.

"I wouldn't blame any of it on that animal control officer," he insisted. "It wasn't her fault. Before she got there, the dogs were giving the impression they were more docile. Then they did a 180, and it became a riot.

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"Maybe they'd been picked up by animal control before?"

Arndt said the dog that attacked the officer has been quarantined and declared vicious. Neither of the bullets struck the animal, she said, and the owner has been cited for allowing it to run at-large and failing to license the pit bull.

To get it back, she said, the owner must insure the dog for $10,000 and follow strict confinement rules. The second dog remains in impound, and its owner also was cited.

Arndt also pointed out that animal control is down two officers right now, and the three that remain have to cover the entire county - 24/7, including on-call hours. And the starting pay for the job is $7.75 an hour.

She said the unidentified officer sustained two puncture wounds and lacerations to the back of her calf and was treated at the hospital and released.

When told of the officer's pay and that she was to base her call for backup on her own discretion, Scott said, "Wow! She's practically donating her time. It was not her fault she got bit. If it had come at me, I couldn't stop him. I don't want to place blame, but I think the county should reconsider its practices.

"Actually, if we boil it down to fault, that goes to one person: the owner of that dog."

Barb Ickes can be contacted at (563) 383-2316 or bickes@qctimes.com.

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