What you should do to prevent an attack from an animal like a pit bull

Sep 14, 2022, 6:00 PM
victims of dog attacks...
After vicious dog attacks in Logan and Layton have both resulted in people cyber-bullying the victims, Dave Noriega says it's time we rethink how we react to dog bites. (Photos courtesy of Hope Brown and Alicia Garcia)
(Photos courtesy of Hope Brown and Alicia Garcia)

SALT LAKE CITY — A pit bull attacks a girl. What do you when an aggressive dog attacks? A police officer describes how the incident unfolded. Later, an animal control professional gives tips on avoiding a dog attack.

A young teenage girl working in the store parking lot at Macey’s in Santaquin was attacked by a pit bull, which escaped from the open window of his owner’s car. A man nearby heard her cries for help. He was also menaced by the pit bull and fired one round, killing the dog on the scene.

The employee, 16, suffered injuries to her arms and legs that did require medical attention. The man who shot the dog dead will not be charged.

Dog attacks girl in Macey’s parking lot

The dogs’ owner will be charged, according to Sgt. Mike Wall of the Santaquin Police Department, who joins KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss the incident.

Callista Pearson of Salt Lake County Animal Services also joins the show to discuss what to do if you are attacked by a dog and how dog owners can prevent attacks from happening.

Debbie asked about the condition of the teen store employee who was attacked.

“She had several pretty significant lacerations or scratches on both her arms, and then she had some puncture wounds on her leg. She she did go over to the hospital and receive some secondary care after being seen by our ambulance [EMTs]. But I believe she was just released after some treatment over there,” Wall said.

Wall said the owner had three pit bulls in the car and said he had partially lowered the car windows while he went inside the store.

But the driver-side window was fully open, from which all three dogs jumped out. But only one dog attacked the girl, Wall said.

“He [the owner] assumed that the dog had stepped on the rocker switch that rolled the window down,” Wall said.

He added the dogs immediately moved in on the girl, according to witnesses. The girl was ushered into the store by witnesses, Wall said.

Wall said the dogs’ owner was later cited for:

  • a dog attacking a person,
  • dogs running at large and
  • licensing violations for the dogs.

Wall added the man who shot and killed the dog was licensed to carry a firearm and will not be further investigated by the Santaquin Police Department.

What to do if you are attacked by a pit bull or another dog

Callista Pearson of Salt Lake County Animal Services joins the discussion.

Debbie said when she was young she and her younger sister were walking home from school when a dog came out of nowhere and attacked her sister.

“I didn’t know what to do. To this day, I still don’t know what to do. And so, we need to learn from you what to do if you’re attacked by a dog,” she said.

Pearson said don’t make eye contact with the dog, stand like a tree and, if you can, put something between you and the aggressive dog, such as a backpack, bike, a rolled-up jacket or an umbrella.

“If the dog does get past the backpack, what do you recommend?” Dave asked.

Pearson said protect your face, chest and throat and yell to get someone’s attention.

“If you’re in your front yard and say you are watering your plants, hose the dog. . .. Water is an excellent deterrent. Pepper spray. If you’re a runner, if you have it, you can use it, but again, it’s one of those situations when you’re so in the moment you could accidentally spray yourself rather than the dog,” Pearson said.

Other tips to take when faced by a pit bull or another dog from Positively

  1. Avoid eye contact.
  2. Turn your body slowly to the side.
  3. Cross your arms.
  4. Completely ignore the dog.
  5. Be still for a short period then move slowly away.
  6. Try to get to a place where there is a barrier between you and the dog. 

Report the incident to your local animal control

Pearson closed by saying always report an animal bite to your local animal control or area hospital, which are required to submit a bite report. After that, animal control or local police departments will follow up.


What to do when a dog attacks


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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What you should do to prevent an attack from an animal like a pit bull