Polk County deputy’s finger severed after pit bull attack

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Animal was submitted to local veterinary office for rabies testing


POLK COUNTY—On Saturday, February 10, deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about a potentially dangerous dog on Hugh Champion Rd. in the Mill Spring area. The deputies were dispatched after a family called police about a brown pit bull that was loose in the area, and to express concerns about their children’s safety while playing in their yard. 

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Upon arrival, deputies were able to locate the dog and began trying to catch it. While officers were in the process of attempting to capture the pit bull, it became aggressive and bit a deputy, resulting in a serious injury that severed the deputy’s finger. The name of the deputy has not been released.

After the attack, the Sheriff’s Office issued a statement at 4:30 p.m., warning the nearby area to stay indoors while officers attempted to locate the dangerous dog. The deputy was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was successfully treated and later released.

At around 7 p.m., Polk County Sheriff’s Office released another statement announcing that the dog was no longer a threat to the public and that the area had been cleared. 

Currently, there are no pending charges, as officials have not yet been able to find the owner(s) of the dog.

“The owners of the animal could not be located and there was no record of vaccination,” said Sheriff Tim Wright on Wednesday. “As a result of the incident, the dog had to be submitted to a local veterinarian’s office for rabies testing.”

There is no live animal test for rabies. As of press time, details of how the dog died are not available, and the results of the rabies test have not been distributed.

In the last six months, this is one of three dog attacks that has gained media attention in Polk County and its surrounding areas.

In August of last year, a twelve-year-old boy was hospitalized after being attacked by a pack of pit bulls alongside Grassy Knob Rd. in Sunny View. The case was handled by Rutherford County Animal Control. In January, another dog attack occurred when a pair of pit bulls attacked a family’s miniature horse on Miracle Farm Rd. in Landrum. The attack resulted in the horse’s death and the case was handled by Spartanburg County Animal Control. 

In both cases, the pit bulls were not euthanized and the owners did not face criminal charges, although one owner received a citation due to a lack of rabies vaccination.