SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake Police Department officers were attacked by three dogs Thursday night and officers were forced to use pepper spray and a baton on the animals to protect themselves.
An officer was driving near the McDonald's at 210 W. 500 South at about 10 p.m. when he noticed a woman lying face down on the ground, motionless, surrounded by three pit bulls, according to detective Dennis McGowan with the Salt Lake Police Department.
The officer stopped to check on the woman, but wanting to avoid interacting with the dogs, he honked his horn in order to try and rouse the woman. He also used a loud air horn to wake the woman, who didn't appear to be breathing, McGowan said. A second officer then arrived on the scene.
As soon as officers left their vehicles, the dogs engaged in an aggressive and sustained attack, focusing mostly on the second officer, McGowan said. The officers use pepper spray and a baton on the dogs in order to protect themselves and gain access to the woman, who still appeared to be unresponsive despite the commotion.
"An officer doesn't have to be bitten by a large vicious animal in order to justify protecting himself," McGowan said, stressing that the officers used non-lethal force.
The pepper spray and baton were distracting enough that the first officer was able to grab the woman by her arm and drag her away. At that point, she woke up.
Officers were able to determine that the 21-year-old woman had consumed a large amount of alcohol earlier in the day, which contributed to her passing out on the ground.
Neither the woman nor the officers were injured in the incident. The woman woke up later and was issued three citations for attack by a dog and the animals were allowed to go home with the woman.