NORWALK, Calif. – L.A. County deputy sheriffs responded to a call of known gang members, including one armed with a gun, assembling in Hermosillo Park in Norwalk, CA, on September 17, 2011. (Norwalk is a suburban city 17 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.)
When the officers arrived at the scene at about 3:30 p.m., the suspects quickly dispersed and ran into nearby residential neighborhoods. One appeared to be holding a gun and ran toward the 12000 block of 161st Street, according to sheriff’s officials.
The officers surrounded the neighborhood and called for backup, including a K-9 unit. The location where the suspect was last seen had a large pit bull in the backyard. Officials report that the dog owner was instructed to remove the pit bull so that a search could be conducted.
Tosca, a Sheriff’s German Shepherd K-9 was waiting obediently beside his handler. The massive pit bull suddenly broke loose from the owner, charged into the street and attacked Tosca. The pit bull sunk its teeth into Tosca’s throat and pinned him on his back. Deputies were unable to get the pit bull to release his hold, nor pull the K-9 away. (Photo by KABC-7 News - http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=8359070 )
The K-9 handler then shot the pit bull in the head to save Tosca’s life. The pit bull released his grip and limped back into its own driveway before collapsing and dying, according to reports.
The pit bull’s owner, Eddie Perez, claimed that he wasn’t given a chance to put Ziggy, his pit bull, on a leash and that he asked officers to use a Taser on the dog.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Captain Mike Parker explained that the pit bull overpowered the owner and caused him to lose control of the dog. After the dog had charged into the area where the deputies were and attacked Tosca, the shooting was necessary to save Tosca’s life and possibly that of officers and community members.
A loaded handgun was retrieved from the backyard of the pit bull’s owner; and three known gang members were later found and arrested for possible parole violation, according to officials.
According to CravenDesires, a blog that tracks media-reported pit bull attacks, there were 15 attacks on K-9’’s between June 2009 and June 2011. http://cravendesires.blogspot.com/