An off-duty NYPD dog was nearly taken down by a charging pit bull in Hempstead Monday afternoon, but was saved by his human partner, who kicked away the attacking canine.
NYPD Transit K-9 Officer John O’Connor and his partner, Wyatt, named after the legendary gunslinger Wyatt Earp, were at the corner of Terrace and Atlantic avenues at about 12:45 p.m. when O’Connor said he saw a woman with a, gray pit bull walking about 70 yards away, on the other side of the street behind a fence.
The pit bull, which was off its leash, according to O’Connor, “made eye contact” with the canine crime fighter and ran through a gap in the fence, charging at the nearly 7-year-old Belgian Malinois.
“I could tell that that dog was not coming over to play,” said O’Connor, of Nassau County, who was in Hempstead on a personal errand.
The officer said he pulled his partner close, shielding him from the attacker and even kicking the pit bull “six or seven times” while trying to get the owner to take control of her dog.
“I just kept kicking and it just kept getting closer and closer,” O’Connor said. “I told the owner she needed to grab her dog, but she wasn’t showing any urgency.”
When the pit bull’s owner finally got across the street, she simply scooped up her dog, which O’Connor said she called Apollo, and walked away, despite the officer identifying himself and insisting that she remain.
Hempstead Village police are investigating the incident. No arrests have been made, police said.
O’Connor took Wyatt — an explosive-detection canine and his partner of more than 4 years — to a veterinary hospital in Manhattan shortly after.
He said Wyatt suffered a small abrasion on the left side of his neck, but is otherwise healthy and fit for duty.