GOLDEN GATE ESTATES — A dog is dead. A deputy is bruised.
Serving a court summons turned violent on Wednesday for one Collier County Sheriff’s deputy and a Golden Gate Estates pit bull.
Sgt. David McKelvey, 44, arrived at 211 Seventh St. S.W. just before 11 a.m. to serve a civil process. He rang the doorbell and heard a large dog barking and announced he was with the Sheriff’s Office, according to a Sheriff’s Office report on the incident.
As Rachelle Pehlke, 22, opened the door, the animal charged out and up onto McKelvey’s 6-foot-4-inch frame.
The pit bull, Shane, “aggressively jumped on my chest and attempted to bite me,” McKelvey said in the report.
McKelvey used his left foot to push the 8-year-old, approximately 70-pound male dog off him.
Pehlke, at 5 feet 4 inches tall and 120 pounds, couldn’t control the dog. The dog grabbed the deputy’s left pant leg.
The deputy broke away for a moment, but the dog bit again. This time, its teeth sunk through his left boot and began shaking McKelvey’s leg.
The dog pushed all 210 pounds of the deputy onto his back in a bed of rocks. The dog would not relent.
McKelvey drew his 9 mm Beretta and fired one shot into the dog’s shoulder, the report said.
Shane’s owner, Jose Arjona, 25, took the wounded animal to a veterinary clinic, where it was recommended the dog be put down. Shane was turned over to Collier County Domestic Animal Services, where it was euthanized, according to Amanda Townsend, the agency’s director.
The Sheriff’s Office will perform an internal review into the incident as is the protocol when a deputy fires a weapon, said spokeswoman Michelle Batten.
McKelvey had minor injuries, bruises and scratches, the report noted.
Neither Pehlke nor Arjona could be reached for comment after multiple attempts.
The incident is one in a growing trend as animal bites are on the rise in Collier County, Townsend said.
The agency investigated 820 bites in 2009, the last year data was available. That’s up from 763 animal bites in 2008 and 679 in 2007, a 20 percent jump in two years. The vast majority of these bites are dog bites, she said.
She did not have a breakdown of bites by dog breed, but pit bulls are seen by some as violent animals.
Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American pit bull terriers were classified as dangerous in Miami-Dade County. Since 1990, no dog, full or mixed breed, with similar characteristics to the pit bull can be acquired there.
Collier County Animal Services has taken a different stand, one that is shared by such organizations as The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“A dog’s disposition is 100 percent determined by its socialization no matter what the breed,” Townsend said.
Collier County Domestic Animal Services can label a dog dangerous if the dog has caused severe injury in an aggressive attack on a person, severely injured or killed another pet while off the owner’s property, has been used or trained for dog fighting, or has, when provoked, chased or approached a person in a public place in a menacing fashion, according to the county’s dangerous dog ordinance. It was passed in 2008 and was revised in 2010.
Dangerous dogs must be spayed or neutered. They must be registered annually on time, or fines or humane euthanization can result.
A listing of dangerous dogs in the county by zip code can be viewed on the Domestic Animal Services website.
Connect with Tara E. McLaughlin at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tara-mclaughlin/