Owner claims service dog was attacked by animal control officer
HILLSBORO, Ore. (CNN) – A dog owner in Oregon is furious after his service dog suffered severe injuries following an encounter with authorities.
Marlin Starr said, “I don’t want any other animal to have to go through what I’m having to go through now.”
Earlier this week, Starr’s pudgy 9-year-old lab got out his backyard and ran into the neighborhood street.
Officials say Hoyt Stepp, a Washington County animal control officer, told Starr that his dog and another dog were blocking traffic.
He added the animals were so aggressive that he had to hit Dojie in the face with a bite stick.
However, two neighbors who watched the incident tell a very different story.
They say the dogs were not aggressive, actually running back into their own backyards after being confronted.
Starr said, “At that point, witnesses say that the officers followed the dogs into the backyard. One witness told me that, ‘Your animals were perfectly fine until we could no longer see them.”
None of the witnesses saw what happened next.
However, Dojie was hit so hard she will likely need surgery to remove her right eye.
Debby Wood, Washington County’s manager of animal services, says she does not believe their officer did anything wrong.
Hillsboro police are beginning their investigation.
Lt. Mike Rouches, with the police department, said, “At this point, the case is going to be assigned today to see if we have a case of animal abuse or not.”
Authorities confirm Stepp was investigated for his role in a shooting that killed a dog a few years ago.
However, he was cleared of all charges in that case.