Reporting Diane Thompson
DOWNEY (CBSLA.com) — One county animal control officer knows what it means to take a bite for the community.
KNX 1070′s Diane Thompson reports Officer Omar Munoz of Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control has some nasty scars on his right forearm and wrist courtesy of an 80-pound black pit bull.
The scars are left over from when Munoz responded to a call to the L.A. County shelter in Downey on Nov. 17 about a loose pit bull near an East Los Angeles park.
“I knew I got injured, but I knew I could not leave this dog out there, ’cause if this dog caused so much damage to me, I could only picture what kind of damage he would do to a child,” Munoz said.
When Munoz arrived on scene, he found the dog – which Munoz described as “friendly” – put him on a soft leash, and walked him to his Animal Control vehicle.
That, said Munoz, is when the dog turned violent.
“When I picked him up, he turned, so his character changed from friendly to aggressive, and he charged me,” he said.
The pit bull lunged at Officer Munoz and bit his pant leg, knocking him to the ground and onto his back, but Munoz said that animal was aiming for his jugular.
“He went after my face, so I had no choice but to put my forearm in the way,” he said. “He let go, I attempted to get up, and he went up after my face again.”
After the dog eventually let go and ran off toward the park, Munoz headed for his truck and retrieved an animal control device known as a “catch pole.” He was able to eventually contain the pit bull and take him to the Downey shelter.
Despite suffering serious injuries, it was only then that Munoz finally made a visit to the emergency room to seek medical attention.
His boss, Deputy Director Aaron Reyes, called Munoz a genuine hero.
“What really caught my attention is when Officer Munoz said, ‘You know sir, I’m glad it was me and not some kid’,” Reyes said. “That really shows a selfless man who’s willing to put his life and his well-being on the line for public safety.”
Munoz, the father of four children, said he knows how vital it is to make sure children are protected from similar attacks while playing in public.
“I’m a pretty big guy, and if he knocked me down, imagine a child,” Munoz said. “My main concern was not only my safety, but also removing this animal as a danger to the public as well.”