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The dog ate my squad car: Chapter Two

winstonSome new details have emerged, and some old ones have proven incorrect, in the case of the dog that tried to eat the police car in Chattanooga.

First off, the dog is a pit bull-boxer mix, not a bulldog, as he was described in most initial reports.

The three-year-old, 80-pound dog, named Winston, managed to break through a locked fence Sunday at Mann’s Welding, approached a parked police car in which an officer was on the lookout for speeders, and chewed off its front bumper. He also bit through two tires and left teeth marks in the side panel of the vehicle.

The officer got out of the car when he noticed it was shaking, and tried to subdue the dog, first with pepper spray, then with a stun gun. When a second officer arrived Winston chewed the tires of the other patrol car. Eventually the dog was captured by animal control officers, with the help of one of his owners, WDEF reported

“Obviously at some point yesterday he was not a nice dog,” said his owner, Michael Emerling, “but previous to that he was very sweet.” Emerling said Winston has never hurt anyone, though he does occasionally show aggression toward lawn equipment.

The dog is being held at the McKamey Animal Center, where Karen Walsh, executive director, noted: “Some dogs are very aggressive. Especially when they feel they are being protective. So I think the officer to the dog’s perception was in his territory and so the dog just attacked the car.” 

Still, after this incident Emerling, his owner, says he can’t risk what could happen if Winston attacks again. He’s considering having him put down. “We can’t take the chance that the next time something sets him off it won’t be a car … we just can’t take that risk.”

(Click here for an even more updated version of this story, and video of the attack.)


Comment from MidgetViking
Time March 17, 2010 at 7:21 am

“Emerling said Winston has never hurt anyone, though he does occasionally show aggression toward lawn equipment.” OK, that had me laughing. But the owner seems surprisingly rational and as sad as it is I too think Winston is a gun waiting to go off for real. 🙁

Comment from laura
Time March 17, 2010 at 11:00 am

This whole incident is a warning to get Winston into a training class. How to redirect the need to destroy.

Comment from Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.
Time March 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I’m no dog expert, but I’d hate to see this dog put down for, in effect, having at a BIG chew toy. I have heard of pit bulls attacking tires before. Maybe they smell other dogs’ pee, or something. But if he wasn’t aggressive with the officers, I can’t see putting the poor boy down.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time March 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Virginia, you are so right! We have the most laid-back Beagle in the world, but he feels perfectly free to get aggressive with his various toys (and the occasional fuzzy bedroom slipper). It’s all good, clean fun, and if Winston has been kindly disposed to human beings, he probably just needs to go get some obedience training. I recommend teaching him DROP IT or LEAVE IT. If he’s shown aggression towards lawn equipment (or was it lawn furniture?), then it’s also entirely feasible to train him to get over that issue.

Comment from bb
Time March 30, 2010 at 6:57 pm

i hope you will be glad to learn that winton was not put down. he was judged to be a gentle friendly dog that just does not tolerate noise, the police car was running radar, he was released to his owners after a suitable stint at the doggy jail and even has established his own charitable foundation for homeless animals.

Comment from Juliette Morgan
Time August 19, 2010 at 11:11 am

What a tail! Glad to see it had a happy ending

Comment from Walkydog
Time September 7, 2010 at 5:41 am

Amazing story – I hope the dog is OK.

Comment from Dougie
Time October 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

I agree with training – it is not fair to destroy the dog.

Comment from JAMIE
Time November 3, 2010 at 11:04 am

Great ending to a bizzarre episode!

Comment from Sara
Time December 30, 2010 at 7:53 am

Sounds like this dog has a problem and just needs some compassion – nice tail though!