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Deputy shot while fighting off pit bull during chaotic arrest

Police car lights (Dreamstime/TNS)
January 16, 2023

Two East Baton Rouge police officers were attacked by pit bulls on January 10 while attempting to arrest Richmond McNeal, 48, for violating a protective order at the Hub Apartments on Highland Road.

When the suspect’s door was opened, two pit bulls charged at the officers. After one of the dogs attempted to bite a deputy on the leg, a deputy and an accompanying field training officer drew their guns and fired. The dog was shot and killed, while a deputy suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. While the names of the deputies and field training officer have not been released, the injury is reportedly not life-threatening.

EBRSO Spokesperson Casey Hicks told WBRZ “The suspect opened the door, at which point two of the three dogs-were told all three were Pit bulls-rushed out. They were not restrained and they rushed the deputies. One of them, they said, attempted to latch onto the Deputy with her teeth.”

Daniel Piatkiewicz, East Baton Rogue Animal Control Director, said that the two surviving dogs were picked up and will remain in custody for at least five days. McNeal was also taken into custody, however, additional charges regarding the dog attack have not been announced.

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While the city of Baton Rouge doesn’t list banned breeds, it does hold regulations residents must adhere to in regard to their pet dogs. All dogs must be confined to their owner’s home, fenced yard or leashed as well as registered and vaccinated against rabies. Owners who violate these provisions face fines or loss of their dogs. If a dog bites another person, the bite must be reported to the Animal Control Center and the dog held for observation.

Following the mauling deaths of Luna McDaniel and Michael Blaise Landry, Louisiana legislature passed HB 155, The Luna McDaniel and Michael ‘Blaise’ Landry Act, which allows prosecutors to charge dog owners with negligent homicide after a fatal attack. Owners could face prison sentences of up to five years as well as a fine of up to $5,000.

McNeal’s dogs were a known problem in the area. KY Williams, a neighbor, said, “I don’t directly know the owner, but my dog was recently attacked by his pit bull. He has three of them. So, I know our neighbors have issues with his dogs snapping at them. He’s an older guy, he can’t really control the big dogs, he probably shouldn’t walk three of them at once.”

Residents are encouraged to report nuisance or aggressive dogs to The Animal Control and Rescue Center at 225-774-7700. Reports of criminal animal related activity or aggressive animals can be kept anonymous.