Police have described the “horrific” moment when a cop had to make the harrowing decision to shoot and kill a dog that started attacking his family.
A family of three was forced to barricade themselves in a room of their Baldivis home after their rescue blue heeler—with a “traumatic past”—named Ace lunged at a father’s throat, forcing him to undergo surgery.
Homeowners Stephen and Michelle Quail described the scene as a “bloodbath”, saying they were traumatized after all three family members suffered serious injuries from their dog, whom they had only had for a little over a month.
Senior Sergeant Ian Francis of Rockingham Police Station said police arrived at the Vernon Gough Drive home just after 6:40 p.m. Sunday night after a distressed triple-zero call was made.
“We had a police officer nearby, just 500 meters from the address, who had another job,” the senior officer said at a news conference Monday morning.
“They were immediately on the spot. They were met at the house by distressed relatives – they (the officers) could clearly see that they had been attacked.”
While the officer was in the house, Ace began to attack Mrs. Quail on the leg, leaving him with no choice but to shoot the dog.
sen. Sergeant Francis said the dog was shot twice and then a third time to get him out of pain.
“The police officer had to draw and unload his firearm to reduce the threat to that family member,” he said.
“They were clearly at risk given the injuries to the male resident of the house, the daughter and the wife.
“We don’t like to harm animals, but given the circumstances, that violence was necessary to reduce the threat to the family and to the officer himself.
Outside the Rockingham Police Station, he said he was lucky that the dog had a cone on his head, as it could potentially save Mr Quail’s life.
“As far as I know his injuries are quite serious and he’s undergoing surgery…I think what saved him and the family members was the fact that the dog had one of those cones on his head,” he said.
“That probably reduced the bite mark and the dog’s ability to bite harder or further on the (male) throat.
“In many ways, that’s probably what saved his life.”
Other police arrived shortly afterwards, with Senator Sgt Francis saying all protocols for “reports on the use of force” had been taken.
“At this point, there are no other lines of inquiry and there is no need for an internal investigation or anything like that,” he said.
The officer in charge said it was a very chaotic scene for the police and family to be involved in. He said he supported the officer’s decision to mitigate the threat from the dog.
“That’s what we’re trained for, that’s what we do our critical training for,” he said.
“We are trained to respond to incidents and how best to mitigate the threat and reduce the harm to others.
“He (the officer) pretty quickly summed up the situation based on what he had seen and what he had been told … and at that point he made a critical decision of his own to take that course.”
The sergeant said the officer is “doing quite well today” given the horrific incident he was dealing with.
“No matter what the circumstances are, it’s always hard to pull out and relieve your firearm,” he said.
“We will continue to monitor him and ensure he has support from the WA Police Force.”
He said the “severity” of the attack is quite unusual.
“I’m glad we were able to get there so quickly and that we had a vehicle so close that we could stop any further attack on the family.”
In an emotional interview, Mr Quail described the moment when he yelled at officers to “just shoot” after yanking Ace off his wife’s legs.
The father in his fifties — whose head and chin are bandaged while his arm is in a sling — said “(Ace) opened me under my chin” during the savage attack.
“I had to come out and yank his jaws off her (Michelle), and threw the dog in front of the cop and said ‘just shoot him, shoot him, shoot him,’ said Mr Quail still in shock.
“And he did – they shot him with three rounds to kill him,” he said, bursting into tears.
Ms Quail said she has “never been so scared in her life” and feels shocked and confused.
“It was horrible. Just to watch the dog lunge at Steve and my daughter, and me, it was a bloodbath in there,” she said.
“It just came out of nowhere… we don’t know why he did it. We couldn’t do anything, he was out of control.
“We’re just devastated by what happened to us and what happened to him because he would be our dog forever.”
The family was taken to Rockingham General Hospital for treatment for their injuries.
Early Monday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Quail went to Fiona Stanley Hospital to have their wounds cleaned.