Hartselle officer in hospital after dog encounter
By Wes Tomlinson
For the Enquirer
A Hartselle police officer was in Huntsville Hospital with a skull fracture Friday after an encounter with a dog apparently caused him to strike his head on the ground, but an owner of the mixed breed pit bull involved in the incident said the animal doesn’t have a history of aggressiveness.
Lt. Alan McDearmond said the officer, whom police haven’t identified, was patrolling Tunsel Road Baptist Church on the corner of Tunsel Road and Nethery Road early Friday morning when the incident occurred. The church had been burglarized sometime last week.
At 2:45 a.m. the officer’s body camera footage showed the dog approaching him.
“He was out of the view of his car camera, so we don’t know if the dog attacked him or tripped him, but he fell to the ground,” McDearmond said.
McDearmond said the officer sustained a fractured skull but he is improving. He also said charges against the dog’s owners are possible.
Cheyenne Weems, 15, said her mother took the family’s 2-year-old female dog, which is in the late stages of pregnancy, outside for some fresh air around 3 a.m. Weems said the dog noticed the officer walking around the parking lot of the church, down the road from their house.
“She’s never shown any aggression or anything and my mother said (the officer) pulled out a Taser because he thought she was going to attack him,” Weems said.
Weems said she was in her living room watching TV when the incident occurred. She said the dog, named Little Girl, was just curious about people being at the church during that time but did not try to attack the officer.
Weems said her mother told her that at some point after the officer pulled out his Taser, he started to “tumble back.” She said the dog barked at the officer, which might have startled him and caused the fall.
Hartselle police officials couldn’t be reach for comment on Weems’ account of the incident. The Weems family still had possession of the dog Friday afternoon, and Cheyenne Weems said they hadn’t had contact with Hartselle police since the incident.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page about the incident. “Our prayers are with the officer, his family and our Hartselle Police Department partners,” the post read.