A Pasco County sheriff's deputy is in a lot of pain after a scuffle with a pet pit bull. His left arm was mauled Sunday. Monday, Brent Taber, 43, had another round of surgery at Tampa General Hospital.
We talked with the dog-owner's family and they said it was just one, big, awful accident.
Taber's punctured, stitched-up forearm is tough to look at.
"It was a massive wound that caused deep-tissue injury to our deputy," said Doug Tobin, who is the public information officer with the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
It was all because of a terrible misunderstanding. Taber and another Pasco deputy were patrolling Cole Avenue in separate cars Sunday, hoping to serve a warrant.
"It was a felony warrant for a failure to appear on grand theft, so we had word a suspect was probably in that neighborhood," said Tobin.
When they saw a woman seemingly waving at them from her front stoop.
"She was going like this," said Shacora Lindsey, the woman's niece, waving her arms above her head. "And they had come around thinking she had called them."
Lindsey said her aunt was actually just swatting away bugs, and when Taber approached her gate, warned him to stay away, that her pit bulls, which are normally kept inside, were outside going to the bathroom.
"He was a nice dog to me, he was very protective," said Lindsey.
Lindsey had raised the dog, since he was a puppy and was sad to witness his death.
Deputy Taber got back in his car to continue his patrol.
"He was shutting the door and that's when this dog, the pit bull, latched on to the deputy's forearm and would not let go and was shaking his mouth back and forth, which was causing considerable lacerations into his arm," said Tobin. "The deputy did call a distress signal through the radio and then fired at least two rounds into the dog."
Lindsey's pet dog collapsed a few feet away.
"I was standing right in front of it," she said.
"They're protectors and my sister does the best she can to try to control them," said Diana Kelley. "I'm sorry that the guy got bitten, it was just a bad, terrible accident."
The dog had hurled itself against the gate.
"And he came and he hit it real hard, and it came, like that and he squeezed through there," said Kelley.
Amazingly, there are no broken bones or major tendon damage.
Area sheriffs have a purple heart they give out every quarter to deputies who deserve special recognition.
"And I think in this case this deputy is certainly looking, at least, at a purple heart," said Tobin.
Lindsey's aunt was cited for failing to keep the dog restrained properly and because the dog didn't have its tags.
We're told Deputy Taber is fighting an infection in his arm, was heavily sedated and unable to speak with us Monday.
If things improve, he may be allowed to leave Tampa General some time Tuesday.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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